The Seabury Academy is the only independent college preparatory school in Lawrence, Kansas, with about 200 students actively enrolled. Their school is tuition-based with a diverse population. About 33% of students receive financial aid and 25-30% identify as students of color. As an independent entity, Seabury didn’t have the same type of guidance or support when the pandemic developed as a public or Catholic school.
When the pandemic hit, the school was shut down for the remainder of the academic year, leaving them to quickly adapt and learn how to continue communication with their current students and parents, as well as answer questions about future enrollment. Inquiries and calls immediately ended as they were no longer in the office. It became imperative for the school to explore alternative avenues to talk to families who had questions.
Seabury Academy offers a college-preparatory education in a diverse and enthusiastic learning community, promoting academic excellence and moral development while empowering students to explore their potential and to become engaged citizens of the world.
Leslie attended a webinar with the National Association of Independent Schools and another member school mentioned they were using Olark live chat, which had solved problems experienced as a result of COVID-19. Leslie did some research on Olark and thought our live chat tool would solve their problem. Within a day, Olark was live across their entire website.
Olark currently sits with the Admissions team, with Leslie being the only agent for the school. Not only does Seabury use Olark to answer questions for prospective students, but Leslie also fields questions and emails for other faculty or administrators who are unavailable while working from home. People were having trouble getting in touch with staff, and Olark helped them connect visitors with their team.
Another approach their team implemented was on their direct line voicemail, which advised callers to head over to their website and start a chat for immediate assistance.
One feature the school finds most useful is seeing where the visitor is on their website right in the chat. As their visitors move around their site, Leslie can see which page they are currently viewing. Before COVID-19, the school’s new website was on track to launch in early July. The pandemic delayed the launch, and Olark is helping them understand what changes should be made to the website based on the questions they receive and the pages visitors are viewing.
Leslie also utilizes Olark’s away message feature. When a visitor comes to their website after business hours, they can still submit their contact information and message for the Seabury Academy to follow-up the next business day.
One day, an Amazon driver was having trouble finding where to deliver a package that needed to be signed for on the Seabury Academy campus. The driver went to their website and started a live chat with Leslie and she helped navigate him to the right building to complete the delivery.
While Seabury Academy is still in the early stages of using Olark, it has been successful in helping them stay connected with their school community during the shutdown from COVID-19. Not only have they used Olark to engage with prospective students to boost enrollment, Seabury has seen other use cases with their website visitors, including directing them to the proper faculty or staff members and, eventually, changing their website to make it easier for students to find what they are looking for.
Olark has been a versatile tool for the Seabury Academy during the pandemic, but they foresee Olark as being part of their ongoing website presence to help them listen, learn and improve beyond COVID-19.
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Olark has created new opportunities for Seabury to reach its community.