Every year, universities throughout the UK face the same colossal challenge. Each one has to temporarily enhance their communication infrastructure overnight to cope with the increased demands of students contacting them to confirm course places or go through clearing. With 2015 set to be the first year universities have no cap on the number of students they can recruit, as well as the government’s prediction that student numbers will rise by 60,000[i], many establishments will be wondering how they can possibly cope with the increased demand – and vitally how much it will cost.
In most cases, universities purchase additional telephone lines each year which result in expensive overheads. It can also be challenging to reverse the changes made to fixed telephone lines, and in some cases, universities just keep lines in place all year round – continuing to pay for infrastructure that is only used for three days. This can be avoided because there are solutions available that would allow universities to only pay for the services they need for the time period they need it.
There are a wealth of opportunities and savings available to universities who embrace cloud based solutions which rely on no onsite infrastructure, can assist in handling large call volumes and importantly save costs. Lancaster University for example implemented a scalable call queuing solution in 2014 which enabled them to handle 100,000 calls over a three day period.
My advice to universities looking to address this issue is as follows:
Explore a hosted call queuing system
Such a system allows universities to answer more calls by having the capability to instantly queue up to 100 calls simultaneously as well as controlling how many staff are available to take calls at any one time. The priority order in which calls are received can also be pre-programmed and universities can manage staff levels by setting queue limits and programme the times, days and dates that staff receives calls.
Keep overheads down
Call queuing is a perfect alternative to significant investment in on premise telephony and additional telephone lines to cope with increased demand in peak/key periods of the year. This means no cost of purchasing additional hardware and this obtains results without increasing overheads and internal line capacity. It is a simple, cost effective solution offering exactly what universities need to deliver calculable results.
Call queuing solutions give universities complete control to manage their requirements by battling the traditional struggle of scaling up and down. Clearing is an annual headache that can be handled effectively if universities proactively address it with the right solutions to manage increased call numbers. With call queuing technologies now cloud based the struggle to get infrastructure in place has been eradicated opening the door to many establishments to save time, effort and money.
Andrew Turton is Corporate Accounts Director at Elitetele.com