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Maximizing Higher Ed’s Success with CCaaS: Attain More Efficient Recruitment, Student Support, & Alumni Engagement

May 30th, 2024

Written by Lada Kozachok, Marketing Specialist

In today’s fast-changing higher education scene where engaging students and making operations smoother are key, institutions are always on the lookout for tools that can adapt to their needs.   

Many of the higher education institutions that we work with are considering a change to their internal phone system to optimize their inbound and outbound messaging to students, alumni, and other campus departments.  

In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at what these solutions look like and why CCaaS, or Contact Center as a Service, is the best fit to address higher education needs.  

We’ll explore its standout features, supported by real-world case studies, and highlight the many benefits of integrating these state-of-the-art solutions to meet the challenges faced by today’s academic institutions. 

UCaaS vs. CCaaS in Higher Education

What is UCaaS?

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is a cloud-based delivery model that provides communication and collaboration applications and services over the internet. It integrates various communication tools such as voice calling, video conferencing, instant messaging, email, and collaboration platforms into a platform. 

UCaaS solutions offer businesses the flexibility to access communication and collaboration tools from any device with an internet connection. By leveraging the cloud, UCaaS eliminates the need for on-premises hardware and software. 

Examples of UCaaS solutions include Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. 

What is CCaaS?

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) is a cloud-based solution that provides you with a comprehensive platform for managing interactions across various channels, such as voice, email, chat, and social media. CCaaS solutions typically include features like automatic call distribution (ACD), intelligent virtual agents (IVA), workforce management, analytics, and integration with customer relationship management (CRM) systems.  

By leveraging the cloud, CCaaS offers you flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness compared to traditional on-premises contact center solutions. It allows companies to quickly deploy and scale their operations based on demand, without the need for significant upfront investments in hardware and software.  

CCaaS also enables employees to work remotely from anywhere with an internet connection, improving flexibility and enabling businesses to easily adapt to changing work environments and customer needs. Overall, CCaaS empowers organizations to deliver better student experiences while optimizing their contact center operations. 

Examples of CCaaS solutions include NICE CXone or Five9 Intelligent Cloud Contact Center. 

Key Differences Between UCaaS and CCaaS

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)

UCaaS is like an internal communication hub within a company. It’s designed to encourage collaboration among all employees, regardless of their location or device. Picture it as a virtual office where team members can connect through various channels like voice calls, video conferencing, instant messaging, and email.  

UCaaS solutions often come with simple features like file sharing and presence management (knowing if someone is available). 

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)

CCaaS is more focused on managing customer interactions and supporting your customer service operations. It’s like a command center that handles incoming inquiries from various channels like phone calls, emails, chats, and social media messages.  

CCaaS solutions provide tools such as automatic call distribution (routing calls to the right person or department), intelligent virtual agents (AI-driven and interactive answering), and integrations with CRM systems to ensure a smooth and personalized student experience.  

Essentially, CCaaS empowers you to deliver exceptional service to your customers, whether they’re prospective students, current students, or alumni, by optimizing operations, improving employee efficiency, and providing insights into your customer interactions. 

Why We Recommend a CCaaS Solution for Higher Education

Deploying a CCaaS solution in higher education institutions greatly improves student support. With streamlined processes, you can handle fluctuating inquiries efficiently, provide 24/7 accessibility, and gain insights from data analytics for continuous improvement.  

Moreover, CCaaS offers cost-effectiveness compared to traditional setups, enabling you to allocate resources efficiently while enhancing the overall student experience. 

Exploring Standout Features of Higher Ed CCaaS Solutions

Proactive Communication Power

At the heart of CCaaS solutions is proactive communication—a crucial tool for building strong connections with students.  

By promptly addressing inquiries through various channels like phone calls, emails, texts, or social media, institutions can demonstrate their commitment to engagement and responsiveness, enhancing the student experience and fostering lasting relationships.

 

AI-Powered Workflow Automation

The integration of AI technology and workflow automation into CCaaS solutions marks a big step forward in operational efficiency within educational workflows.  

Intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) streamline processes, automate routine tasks, and offer immediate support to students and staff, optimizing resource use and boosting operational efficiency. This allows institutions to focus on more complex student support services. 

 

Seamless Integration for Better Connectivity

Deep integration of CCaaS solutions with Student Information Systems (SIS), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms, and other essential systems ensures smooth connectivity across departments. Access to real-time data and streamlined processes enables informed decision-making, encourages collaboration among stakeholders, and boosts productivity levels.  

This interconnectedness makes operations smoother, helping institutions adapt quickly to changing needs and challenges.

 

Personalized Engagement for Student Success

Through a CCaaS solution, you can use integrated data and AI capabilities to offer personalized engagement experiences. 

Tailoring interactions to individual needs and preferences creates a sense of belonging and equips students with tools for success. This personalized approach enhances the student experience, improves student retention rates, and drives academic outcomes, ultimately ensuring student success and your institution’s effectiveness. 

Key Benefits of CCaaS for Educational Institutions

Improved Student Experience 

Admissions & Enrollment: Quickly respond to inquiries and streamline registration, boosting satisfaction and retention. 

Operational Efficiency 

Campus Police & Financial Aid: Enhance emergency communication and streamline financial processes for better service delivery. 

Cost-Effective Support 

Admissions & Financial Aid: Provide 24/7 support without extra staffing, ensuring continuous engagement. 

Enhanced Communication 

Enrollment & Campus Police: Maintain regular communication to build trust and ensure seamless experiences. 

Personalized Engagement 

Admissions & Financial Aid: Tailor interactions to meet individual needs, making students feel valued. 

Real-World Application of CCaaS in Higher Education

 

Southern New Hampshire University faced scalability issues, a disconnected customer experience, IVR development challenges, and a lack of integrations. They turned to a CCaaS solution, which integrated APIs with Salesforce Lightning and their SIS systems, enabling automated screen pops and improving efficiency. The flexible and customizable solution allowed them to scale easily to meet their needs.   

Regent University in Virginia struggled with growth scalability, an unintegrated CRM, poor omnichannel delivery, and handling large call volumes. By adopting a CCaaS solution, they achieved the necessary scalability, integrated multiple systems, and optimized omnichannel delivery, doubling their call volume capacity without adding agents.  

The University of Akron in Ohio had an on-premises solution that hindered cloud collaboration, remote work, reporting, and integrations. They implemented a CCaaS solution, enabling remote work, integrating multiple systems, and providing robust, real-time reporting, greatly enhancing their operational efficiency. 

Rochester Institute of Technology faced issues with remote work capabilities, lack of system integrations, and limited reporting. By adopting a CCaaS solution, they shifted to full remote work, integrated with ServiceNow CRM, supported continual growth and innovation, and benefited from out-of-the-box features from day one, streamlining processes and improving performance.   

In Closing

A CCaaS solution offers a complete set of features tailored to address the unique challenges faced by educational institutions. 

With features for proactive communication, AI integrations, and seamless connectivity, CCaaS solutions empower you to find new opportunities for growth, innovation, and success in the ever-changing world of higher education. 

Wilmac Technologies is a premier provider of CCaaS solutions for a wide range of industries, especially in higher education. As a vendor agnostic provider, Wilmac will help tailor the solution to your unique challenges and goals.  

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