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QUT Digital Assistant Pilot Supports Student Admission Enquiries

Congratulations to the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) HiQ team on the go-live of the HiQ Digital Assistant to support student enquiries through the Student Admission process.

HiQ is responsible for student services, support and general enquiries via phone, face to face chat and email. One of the busiest periods is January, before the University year officially begins. Looking to improve the student experience and responsiveness to the influx of enquiries for this year, the project team, led by Angela Kenna, Service Delivery Coordinator, HiQ, researched several technology-based solutions.

Angela said “the focus for HiQ is putting the students at the centre of everything we do. We want to provide faster, more responsive service for our students and my focus has really been on how we can best use technology to enable responsive self-service for students, in their channel of choice”.

With chat acknowledged as the fastest-growing channel for students, the team engaged Rubicon Red to help implement an AI-based chatbot pilot to address admission related enquiries from prospective students. The new chatbot, named “Q”, has enabled HiQ to automate many responses to student admission-related enquiries allowing them to easily scale to meet the anticipated demand during the peak period, early in the new year.

The chatbot, which has been live since September 2019, has responded to 1000+ student enquiries during the first two months and feedback from students during the pilot has been very positive. The AI-based solution has been implemented using cloud-native technologies including Oracle Digital Assistant and delivered as a complete solution-as-a-service offering. With Rubicon Red managing the end-to-end solution including design, delivery and on-going management, QUT has confidence in the reliability, performance and on-going enhancements, particularly important during the anticipated peak periods.

“Rubicon Red helped us rapidly design and implement our new AI-based Digital Assistant, in just 8 weeks, so we can improve our student admissions enquiry services during our busiest period. The solution-as-a-service model is working really well for us - the collaborative design approach helped us distil and prioritise our requirements and on-going management means we can rely on the new solution without the worry of day to day support,” said Joyi Lu, HiQ Technology Lead. “Our team has loved the learning opportunities presented by this project, and Rubicon Red has shown a real willingness to share and help us learn. We really value the collaborative partnership we have with Rubicon Red - open and transparent, focused on helping us achieve our goals.”

Looking forward, the team is excited about what comes next. The pilot was an MVP for admissions related enquiries from prospective students, the next bot will focus on supporting existing students with enrolling into classes during the class registration process.

“For our next project, we want to focus on the lead up to O-Week, where we have 60-70K students needing to register for classes within just a few days. We get thousands of calls to the Contact Centre with simple ‘how do I’ questions. We want to have the bot taking the load on these simple enquiries, giving students the information, they need at the time they need it”, said Angela.