One of Australia's oldest universities, the University of Adelaide, is part of a prestigious group of 8 universities that have consistently been ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide. The university is truly global in that it attracts international students from around the world.
Selecting a school or a university for higher studies is one of the most important decisions a student ever makes. The University of Adelaide wanted to actively engage with prospective students as they navigate this critical decision. Students from different countries often faced time zone challenges, where they would be looking for assistance outside of the university staff's working hours. Being down under, it was critical for a globally acclaimed university to offer services and information outside the local business hours.
The university has already been using Oracle Digital Assistant (DA) to automate inquiries about students’ Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks (ATAR) scores. ATAR is the primary criterion for acceptance into university courses and was previously delivered via phone or email, making it difficult for the university staff to serve multiple students at one time. Now with Oracle Digital Assistant, potential students can simply access their adjusted ATAR scores via Facebook Messenger instead of waiting up to 40 minutes on the phone, also freeing up valuable administrative resources.
Catherine Cherry, the Director of Prospect Management at the university, said, "with our adjusted ATAR chatbot, we ended up being able to engage with three times as many customers as we would have if we were doing it the old way, which was over the phone."
The university decided to extend Digital Assistant use to serve its prospective student worldwide with a brand-new International Eligibility chatbot. The assistant considers the prospective student's academic and English language qualifications, assesses them, and then lets them know whether they will be eligible to enter the university or if they would be eligible with pathways. In just three months, the eligibility assistant has conducted over 7,000 sessions with over 5,500 unique users.
"The question of, "am I eligible?" is the most important one that they [prospective students] will ever ask. And it was one that we couldn't actually answer.", said Cherry. With the help of Oracle Digital Assistant, the university can now offer a critical new service 24/7.
Furthermore, the university is leveraging Oracle’s new natural language understanding (NLU)-powered native voice feature to offer a convenient conversational interface to its diverse demographic. Cherry said, "Our customers span across all ages. And so, while our Millennial and Gen Z customers love to interact with us via text and via chat, we still have a whole load of customers who love being able to call us and to speak to us directly. And the new Oracle voice capability gives us the option to deliver more services to them via the channel that they're most comfortable with."
Watch the full video below to hear more from Catherine Cherry and learn how the University of Adelaide’s new Digital Assistant service has received an "Awesome" rating from 80% of the students.