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What to consider for the best university chat app

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Whether you’re looking for a student chat app that bolsters conversation between students or ambassadors and prospective students, you need to be sure that you’re choosing the app.

With so many on the market, it can be intimidating when trying to choose.

Here are a few things to keep in mind that will allow you to choose the best university chat app:

Chat apps should be safe for all users

The sad reality of any digital chat platform is that misconduct is common – and fighting it effectively is challenging.

Not only does subtlety make misconduct difficult to detect, but context is also important. Just because a message doesn’t contain anything explicit or obviously offensive doesn’t mean that it’s not.

Related: How can we connect students safely?

Further, it’s difficult to monitor this type of content while trying to strike a balance between personal and professional. Students – prospective and current – want an interface that allows them to be themselves without it becoming inappropriate. 

Because it’s the university’s job to safeguard users, this was at the front of Unibuddy’s mind when developing our chat app, Unibuddy Chat. We’ve created a host of powerful moderation tools, including templates, word flagging and verification processes. These allow users complete control and safety – and less than 1% of users have reported misconduct.

Choose an app that provides relevant data

Gen Z students prefer content that’s well-tailored, engaging, cost-effective and smart. For most of us, creating that is a challenge.

To do so, you need to underpin the student journey to inform your marketing efforts – and to do that, you need the right insights. That’s where data comes in, though most are flawed and plagued with methodological problems.

We’ve created a digital chat solution that provides authentic data without those problems. Using Conversation Insights, you’ll easily learn about what matters to your students, including fears, motivations and interests. You can even highlight the distinctions between demographics.

Related: How to improve higher ed marketing

Built directly into the product, the tool uses powerful machine-learning technology that allows for filtering and viewing of the most frequent topics by course, country of origin, and time period.

The things you learn can – and should – inform your higher ed marketing strategies. Go even further by allowing it to inform every aspect of the university experience from enrollment to graduation and beyond.

Make sure your chat app is built for higher ed

It goes without saying, but you wouldn’t rely on something like Facebook Messenger for peer-to-peer communications. Instead, any university or college chat app should be built specifically for higher ed.

That’s because higher ed is a sector unlike any other. You don’t have customers, you have students who are facing the biggest decision and investment of their lives thus far. That means their decision-making process is unique and comes with its own set of challenges and concerns. 

Related: $70,000 spent at university – just to feel like you belong?

When you choose a chat app built for higher ed, you’ll receive support from others in the sector and provide the type of language and experience that prospective student users are familiar with.

Students need conversation, not inquiries

A chat app for universities is not an inquiry management tool and shouldn’t be treated as such. 

That’s because things like generic chatbots provide automated answers, but the goal of a chat app is to have students visit more than once to pick up where they left off. That kind of engagement is what will increase your yield and drive success.

Plus, most prospective students don’t know what to ask – and a chatbot can’t help with that. 

Related: The importance of “positive social encounters” and how to take them online

When developing our chat app, Unibuddy Chat, our machine learning team created a Question Suggestion System (QSS) to point them in the right direction. The QSS database includes 400 questions that span 100 topics, each individually written by our team. 

Questions might include:

  • What’s the transition like?
  • Is the program difficult?
  • Which part of campus life do you enjoy most?

During the conversation, they’re displayed based on what the prospective student is most likely to be interested in based on data from Unibuddy processes.

Just like prospective students, the QSS tool is always learning and evolving. Over time, it will continue to collect data about the use and impact of different questions and allow for even more effective conversations.

What’s the best chat app for universities? 

Thanks to how simple it is to implement and how naturally it adapts to the look and feel of your website, Unibuddy is the best university chat app on the market.

Because it provides such a safe space, it also allows current students to share their own content and engage prospective students in an authentic, impactful way.

Learn more about Unibuddy Chat or see our university chat app in action.

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