The Career Center at University of Virginia (UVA) supports students in planning for their post-college journey. At the center, counselors advise students on issues like selecting an academic major, finding work experience, or prepping for a first interview.
The Career Center is committed to providing access to career guidance for every undergraduate. But reaching students (without adding to their stress) can be challenging. Students may procrastinate on preparations for career fairs or job interviews, leaving little time to make Center appointments. The Career Center building is also located at one of the far corners of the large campus, which is out of the way for most students. Making the trek requires planning and can be burdensome for already stressed-out students. In order to better accommodate and assist students, the UVA Career Center needed a live chat tool to connect with students on short notice.
The University of Virginia is a public research university in Charlottesville, Virginia, founded in 1819. The UVA Career Center serves all degree-seeking students, regardless of major or year.
When Nathan Hunsaker, Associate Director of Technology and Data, began his research for a live chat solution for the Career Center’s website, he first reached out to UVA’s general licensing team to see which platforms other departments were using. But most of the currently licensed chat tools had too many features and were too expensive per seat for what he was looking for. He went his own route and chose Olark because of its simplicity and ease of use. Olark delivered exactly what Nathan and his team needed: an unfussy way to give students an instant line to the Career Center and its advisors.
Key Olark features used:
The university’s team wanted to take their customer service to the next level by showing visitors where to find information on their site, and to troubleshoot issues they were having with the website.
When students had issues submitting applications or completing forms, their team wanted to be able to see the visitors’ screens to help troubleshoot scenarios. Co-browsing allows their team to see their visitors’ screens as they navigate the University of Montana website and gives their team full-screen control tools.
Nathan and his administrative team rely on transcripts to see what students are asking about at any given time. This helps them anticipate upcoming and future questions. Olark’s transcript captures important information, such as the visitor's name, email, location, page the conversation originated from, chat rating, and—of course—the full conversation.
The agents at the UVA Career Center use chat transfers to direct students to the most relevant advisor. There are typically one or two agents accepting inbound chats, who then transfer students to the appropriate advisor once they’ve gathered enough information. Routing lets the team efficiently make use of advisor availability.
Tagging & Reporting
Nathan heavily uses tagging to tie a conversation to an appointment type. Tagging allows advisors to sort and see what kind of services the student needs before they come into the career center for their appointments (for example, a resume vs. interview appointment). Once the conversation is tagged, Nathan is able to import Olark conversations into the Career Center’s main appointment-tracking platform.
The Career Center and the students at UVA have adopted Olark quickly and seamlessly. Within the first month, over 30 advisors at the Career Center are using Olark to assist students and have logged almost 400 chats, even with limited chat hours. Olark chats account for up to half of the Career Center’s one-on-one engagements with students. Olark has proved to be very user-friendly, which is not only important for the students, but also for the Career Center advisors who may be less tech-savvy.
Post-college life can be scary, and the UVA Career Center wants to be there for students as they explore options for their future. If a student is anxious about tomorrow’s career fair and has last-minute questions, a student can use Olark to quickly connect with the Career Center. The option and presence of live chat is comforting for students, and it helps the Career Center achieve the goal of providing accessible advice to students at any time during a formative yet exciting period of life.
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Transcripts help the team anticipate upcoming and future questions.
The option and presence of live chat is comforting for students.