25: How Johns Hopkins University Uses Chatbots to Automate Customer Service w/ Gus Sentementes

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Gus Sentementes, Audience Engagement Manager at Johns Hopkins University discusses how to build your very own chatbot to automate customer service, better assist students, and increase your inquiry generation.

A lot of people are really looking foruseful information they're trying to navigate you know: oftentimes they're,trying to navigate massive university websites and they're looking for asimplified entre into it. You're listening to enrolment growth,university from helic education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Roman at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh andromant growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to an Roman GrowthUniversity, I'm Mari Golson, AVP of marketing at helics education and we'rehere today with Gust sentimentus audience engagement manager at JohnsHopkins University Gus. Welcome to the show, hey thanks for having to be onEric we're going to have a great conversation today about how to buildyour very young chat, Bot to automate customer service, better SI studentsand increase your inqury generation,...

...but before we get too deep into thatGus, can you get the listeners a little bit better understanding of both JohnsHopkins and your role there yeah great so John Soppins University is a bigresearch university based in Baltimore Maryland, and I am the audienceengagement manager and I I've been doing it for about five yearsnow- has audience engagement, manager, Johns Hopkins? You found yourselfconsistently fielding the same student questions on Facebook Messenger overand over again. How does your new chat thought provide better customer servicethan you were previously able to offer manually? Yeah, that's a great question,and so I think I you know. I think what getting to the point where I realized Iwanted to build a chap ot. I was actually trying to solve the same type of question in differentways over the last couple of years and which is basically as facebook. Anot ofthe an other social networs, but especially facebook, has made it easyfor your customers, your students, your perspective students, to message. Youtthrough your page. A lot of young...

...people are taking that opportunity. Wehave a lot of major brands, have been building out their chat, Botexperiences and so a lot of times. What I discovered was when people wereengagein with us through our sending us a message on facebook: Hey were, someof them were actually expecting a chatbot experience, and so what I foundwas it was I'm just basically, one person on our social team in thecentral office and I found was that I wasn't able to keep up with a lot ofthe one on one messages that a was that were coming my away every day, and itwould take me several hours to respond and, as a result of that, facebook waswas binging. Responsiveness on the facebook page with a negative scoreright, and so I was like. Oh, how do I really get that up and first I started using facebooks builtin out a responder Oto Reply Service, which is free and easy to do, and thenI started I was like okay. How can I beat this up to the next level andthat's when I started reading up on chat, bots and and what I found wasthat with a chap at what I basically...

...have is sort of like it's almost like aphone tree that when you, when you kind of like Dialepsa like your localpharmacy and they're, like you know, do you want this? Do you want that? Youknow press one press, two right, and so you can you basically just likereplicate that experience, though a Chat Bay like an and it doesn't have tobe super fancy and doesn't invast o involve. You know super computers andartificial intelligence, but if you give people a guided menu experience ofwhat they can ask as they're using their iphone with one hand and a youknow on a tapday night and they want to message Hopkins and what I found was alot of our people, who are Messag in us, tend to be foreign students, foreignapplicants, who really Babe, can't navigate their way around an Englishwebsite or an English Google search experienceand so they're. Just coming straight to our page and asking how do I apply as aforeign student and I W in the past? I would always have to have this. Youknow cand response, ready and hold...

...their hand a lot, and it would tooke alot of time and now they get my chat, bat and they, basically, I send themright to the web pages that they're looking for and if they have follow upquestions. They're still able to ask me the question, but it's basically way totreeash the dozens of messages that I get every day on our page and as aresult, I've seen my facebook responsive numbers. Just go through theroof, I mean. Suddenly, my green light is on you know. People who run FASE BOTpages will understand that, and you know if it says you know, I respondinstantly, which is great because it l, you know, looks great to our studentsand our customers right right, yeah and cus. There are a bunch of chat pots outthere right now that integrate directly with Basebook, I believe you're,currently using CEFF fuel. There's many chat, there's others and a whole bunchmore luckely to come, how difficult, how costly and how much time to take tobuild out your chatpot from scratch. So you can do it for free just the timethat it takes you to build out a...

...rudimentary type of Chatbat, which Iwas sort of plasifyours is sort of. Like you know, experimental version,one point: Oh or you can really hire a developer or a team or or a vendor toreally customize the Chapa, and you can sell things through your Chack Bat. Youcould, theoretically, you know, build some type of an application systemthrough your Chat Bot, so it ould really runs the Gamit from free. Youcan do a lot for free that kind of answers. Your needs for your grosthneeds for save the next year or two. You know if you're running a socialmedia, operation and higher head or if you're, finding that you're gettingprate engagement and it's forth higheing a developer. You know buildingout some more bells and whistles. You can definitely do that, but the greatthing about it is is you can do a lot just for free right now, it's justreally like stafftime to kind of understand these various platforms,whether it's chatfuel or many chat. You know some of the other ones. You know,and I think kind of strategically you...

...want to think about. If you're going toinvest in a chatbot development, do you want to chap out that can work acrossplatforms, or are you really going to dedicate investing resources and justfacebook, and so I think, that's sort of like the one of the bigger questionsto let's talk about incree generations. So when a student engaged with yourChapbot, what contact information? Do you get automatically from thoseinteractions and is that enough information to effectively treat thosestudents like you would a true inquiry that came inthrough your website yeah?So that's a great question and working in our central office, I don't directlyhandle do that type of direct inquory marketing. We have undergraduateidmissions in a graduate admissions office. That really does that directmarketing, but I can tell you what you can do with a Chabat is, as peopleengage with it and the way that that you know I am actually using it. Thisway, as as people engage with your chat, Bat, it's sort of like collecting theiremail address. A CHAP OT is really almost like another version of an emailnewsletter database right. So once...

...people engage with every I've had fivehundred people engaged with o our chap out on facebook, and I have their namesand their interest within. You know my platform and I can message back to them.You know- and I know exactly the different segments of the universitythat they're interested in. I know how many people were interested in planinga visit. I know how many people were interested in applying to Hopkins foran undergrader Grad Program. So I really think of a Chapba is like a asanother spin on the old email marketing approach, because you can do a lot ofsegmentation with it and with the analytics that you havebuild natively within the Chat Bot. What have you found are the mostpopular things, questions information that students have been looking forwhen engaging with your chat by and if any of those surprised you yeah. So youknow really quick. I've been running this chap at now since October, andwhat I found was a lot of people are...

...really looking for useful informationthey're trying to navigate. You know: oftentimes they're, trying to navigatemassive university websites and they're looking for a simplified entre into it,and so the most popular content for us is for foreign applicants. That'snumber one. People are also looking for another popular piece of content,areour online programs. You know it's no surprise that people are usingonline social network to research, online education programs. So on my ourlinks that I blast up at the chap out to our online courses, that's alsopretty popular and then what I found was not as popular is you know a lot ofuniversityes spent a lot of time generating news. Like you know, PublicRelations News releases stories. What I found was the people who were cominginto our chapout were really not interested in university news. You knowand I'm still going to be doing some more testing, so it may not necessarilybe the best channel for public...

...relations. You know sort of likegenerating positive news stories, but it's more of a one to one customerservice channel lead engagement, type of experience guss. I know students caninteract with your chapot directly on your Johns Hopkins University facebookpage. What do you say about folks who say well? Should this just be there orshould I have this directly on my edu side and should my chatbot kind of bemy virtual assistant to help folks navigate through site content as well yeah? I do think these types of chapodexperiences should be kind of populating across the web and the bestexperiences that I have I've had personally with these cratbotsis theyre, really hybrid experiences between programatic sort of artificialintelligence engagement, and then you know when the chapbout reaches it'slimit, a human takesover, and so, when...

...you, you know, start to include thesetypes of chapbads experiences across. You know your websites and otherplatforms e H. I think you really want to as a brand as an organization. Youreally want to make sure that people don't come away with it. Don't comeaway from your chap bod experience, kind of mocking it and kind of feelinglike it didn't help them. So that's where sort of having some carefulstrategic human interaction of what in the CHAPBOT process, I think, is reallyimportant. It's awesome us any final advice for listeners looking to startdigging into this and then potentially createed chap ot of their owninstitution yeah. I think it's really important. I think when you are tryingto keep up with the increasingly fast piece of social media, it's reallyimportant to look at how the next generation of users and students areusing these different media options and just sort of understand that the mobilephone is a really become a central...

...experience and messaging has become areally really important experience in the way people connect nowadays. And soit's always it's trying to understand that. I think spending some time as abrand as a university to really understand the mobile experience.I think it's going to be strategically important, ecause thanks. So much fofyour time today. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you ifthey have any followe questions. Well, I I think the best place they candefinitely friend Beon Linkdon, it's Gus sentimentos and that's. I woulddefinitely love to kind of get some professional network an go in there andhelp people out on this front. Awesome thanks against so much few time to takeUSS Yeah. Thank you. Eric attracting today's new post, traditional learnersmeans adopting new enrolmant strategies. Heliks educations data drivenenterprise, wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges anduniversities thrive in this new education, landscape and Helix has justpublished the second edition of their...

...enrollment growth playbook, with fiftypercent brand new content on how institutions cansolved today's mostpressing enromant growth challenges download it today for free at Helock's,Educationcom playbook you've been listening to enromantgrowth university from helics education to ensure that you never miss anepisode subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thankyou so much for listening until next time.

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