Conversational SMS Texting: 3 Case Studies

Read about 3 institutions using AI-backed, two-way texting for enrollment and retention initiatives.

AI-Powered 2-way SMS, also known as “Conversational SMS”, is the most modern form of texting today.

In case you are new to this technology, here is what makes it different (and exciting!):

AI-Powered 2-way SMS handles everything that 1-way and 2-way text messaging can do – and it can facilitate actual conversations with students. These conversations can happen in a couple of ways:

  • If you want to send a text message to a small cohort of students who are late in supplying paperwork, and want to be able to respond to and/or follow-up with each one, you can send an “Agent-backed” campaign to provide individualized support.
  • If you want to send a text message to a large group making a big announcement, you can send an “AI-backed” campaign. If a recipient of this campaign has questions, they can engage with the AI, which relies on a consistent and thorough knowledge base of content for its responses.

A really nice aspect of the technology is that it is easy to switch between the two approaches.

We are seeing some very powerful results for colleges and universities from this technology.

Three recent examples include:

Bakersfield College (California)

Bakersfield College texted 6,000 students who had outstanding balances and were unable to enroll. Bakersfield explained that the college had emergency funds available to pay these past due balances. Through this campaign, the college recovered $1.79 million in past due balances. Most importantly, 3,100 students who would have not been eligible to register for the Fall 2021 semester were able to do so. Bakersfield noted an impressive 51.6% response rate to their 2-way SMS campaign.

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (Georgia)

There is an expression “email is today’s snail mail.” Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College struggled to engage students through email outreach, so they were open to trying something different. After four months of failed attempts with email to encourage students to complete a state mandated form, ABAC sent a 2-way text campaign to 800 students and – in 24 hours – had over 300 state required forms completed.

St. Petersburg College (Florida)

St. Petersburg College sent a 2-way text campaign to 4,700 contacts who had not yet enrolled and saw 12.4% of the contacts complete enrollment, resulting in $1.6 million tuition revenue.

The Wrap

2-way AI-powered SMS technology is emerging as “best of breed.” It provides students with the most modern communication experience. It provides staff with a tremendous tool for extending their reach and connecting with students in a way that is efficient, leverages workflows and memorializes all conversations in the student’s record. It makes every institution that uses it accessible 24/7. That is powerful and it is what students expect from their college or university.

The data from these three case studies is compelling. Colleges that are using 2-way AI-powered SMS texting technology can reach students directly on their mobile devices. Opt-out rates are low. The technology facilitates quick actions that benefit students and the institution. For students that have follow-up questions, the AI provides accurate answers, saving the student time and extending the reach of the staff. This frees up staff to focus on more complex questions and situations. The result: more meaningful conversations and student engagement.

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