Outsourcing Can Help Schools Prepare for International Students’ Return

After a year unlike any other, students are preparing to return to campuses across Australia later this year, and many of them will be arriving from other countries – bringing many questions with them.

In pre-pandemic times, international students needed to quickly get important information from schools: details about admissions requirements, financial aid plans, scholarships, and other critical topics. Now, as students prepare to return to campus after what’s likely been a year or more away, they have more questions and concerns than ever. And they, and their parents, need access to the right information quickly and easily.

It’s a challenge schools have never before faced on this scale. Contact centre outsourcing and automation can help.

Diverse population, diverse needs

To offer international students the best experience, schools need to consider where they are coming from and how to best communicate with them.

In 2020, there were 512,855 international students on student visas in Australia, down from a high of 617,589 in 2019, according to data compiled by the Australian government. The top three countries they came from in 2020 were China, India, Brazil and Nepal.

International students play a role in nearly every level and facet of Australia's educational system. More than half in 2020, or 57%, were enrolled in higher education institutes; 34% were in VET (vocational and education training) programs; 4% were in ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students); and the rest were enrolled in other schools and non-award programs.

With so many students coming from so many places, schools need to prepare for an influx of calls as the academic year approaches.

Outsourcing can play a key role in meeting students’ needs, since schools aren’t typically accustomed to handling such high call volume. Letting a third-party help manage calls brings various benefits: it frees school staff up, allowing them to focus on more mission-oriented duties, while also giving students a better and more customised experience. An experienced call centre operator, for instance, will be able to help students in Mandarin, Hindi, Portuguese, Nepali or Tagalog, if necessary.

Offering students and their families fast, easy access to the information they need – in their native language – results in a better experience that will bolster schools' reputations.

Gain flexibility with Agility

For schools bracing for an onslaught of calls, TTEC Agility can help. It’s designed to provide contact centre flexibility and speed to small and medium-sized clients, including those that are new to outsourcing.

With Agility, schools benefit from flexible outsourced contact centre technology and support backed by decades of experience. TTEC’s omnichannel approach strikes the right balance; it offers the speed and convenience of automation for simple enquiries, as well as the empathy and context that humans can provide for more complex interactions. The results for schools are lower costs and amazing experiences.

Another benefit of Agility is that schools can opt for short-term contract durations. Signing on for three, six or nine months, for instance, can help keep costs low and increase flexibility during peak times of need. Schools can have the best of both worlds: A small team of expert associates and operations support, backed by the best infrastructure the industry has to offer.

Like so much over the past year or so, the beginning of the upcoming academic year will be new territory. International students will be arriving on Australian campuses with a new sense of uncertainty mixed in with their excitement. Schools must be ready to meet the needs of these students; their reputations depend on it.

The right technology, and the right partner, can make all the difference.