The Student Services Call Center, located in the Cone University Center, is a stand-alone unit that answers telephone calls for University departments with a high volume, as well as provides outbound calling services to support special outreach and retention projects that facilitate enrollment. Currently, the center supports the offices of Undergraduate Admissions, Financial Aid, Registrar, Student Accounts, SOAR and the Graduate School.
The objective of the call center is to enhance customer service to those who contact the University by telephone; operators provide answers to the majority of questions within one conversation, reducing wait times and call transfers.
According to call center director Bill Cooksey, the unit’s efforts serve the entire campus community. Students benefit by having questions answered faster, and by helping students deal with administrative issues more effectively, they can focus on academic work. Faculty members benefit by having administrative requirements for students resolved before classes begin or deadlines pass in order to reduce the number of special requests, appeals and phone calls to academic departments. Staff members benefit by having more time to work with walk-in visitors, reducing time spent returning voice mails and responding to repeat calls.
“Prior to the implementation of the Student Services Call Center, students were unable to contact high traffic departments by phone during peak periods, and many students complained about receiving busy signals and leaving voice mail messages that were not returned in a timely fashion,” explained Cooksey. “Now, telephone calls are being handled more effectively in the call center, producing useful reports for department managers to manage staff resources and providing staff with tools that improve efficiency.”
In its first full year of operation, the Student Services Call Center handled more than 113,000 calls. Financial aid receives the greatest number of calls, followed by undergraduate admissions, student accounts and the Office of the Registrar.
“The beginning of the fall, spring and summer semesters is our peak time because students are registering, “Cooksey said.