District 49

District 49 uses LiveChat to build strong relationship with its community

District 49

Challenge:

Assisting parents, who look for information on the website.

Solution:

Offering LiveChat for parents on the website.

Results:

Improved communication with the district and well-informed parents.

District 49, a school district from Colorado, believes that good communication is a key to a healthy and fruitful relationship with its community. Well-informed and kindly-serviced parents bring their children to the schools from a chosen district and give financial support to it. With more children and more money, the school district can grow, blossom and offer its community more individualized educational opportunities.

Sometimes, however, the parents had a hard time finding information they needed on the District 49’s website. They also asked questions over the phone and email, but the entire communication process took too long. To make it easier and quicker, District 49 offered online support via LiveChat.

“LiveChat is a great tool for community. We are meeting parents when they are looking for information and we are able to make sure they can find it.”
— Dustin Senger, Digital Communications Specialist
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Bringing LiveChat on board

District 49’s website is a knowledge base where parents can learn about school options for their children, read the latest school news and find out about upcoming events, like board meetings, fundraisers and festivals.

Parents look for ways to contact their school or district whenever they need information. To find it, they visit a school’s website, make a phone call, write an email, send a tweet or post a message on the district’s Facebook page. In the past, there were times when they couldn’t locate the information as quickly as the district preferred. Some parents used to get lost on the website, some used to get stuck when calling and some used to wait too long for an email to be answered. They were frustrated.

At first, the communication team tried to use LiveChat internally as a way to better assist school faculty with improving their website pages. But during the 30-day trial, they got the idea to use the chat system as an external communication channel focused on the needs of parents and other stakeholders.

Guiding visitors through the website

As soon as the district’s communication team offered LiveChat on their website, parents started getting quicker answers and felt being taken care of. “Our LiveChat ensures our patrons that we’re present and listening,” said Dustin. “They know they have our attention, and they speak with more clarity and accuracy. Our conversations are clearly much better than email when it comes to establishing and maintaining positive relationships with our patrons.”

District49 agents at work

The District 49’s LiveChat is available on their main website and most of the websites of the 22 schools the district runs. Parents get in touch with the communication team whenever they have a question or an issue. During working hours they chat and after hours they leave messages using a contact form. This means that parents who can’t use District 49’s LiveChat when at work can still get in touch with the district when they come back from work.

LiveChat at District 49 is used by 15 agents in total. Each of them shows up in the chat window with a photo, full name and a job title. This way the visitors who start chats see a real person on the other side, making it easier to experience a more personal conversation. “We greet them much like we would when they enter one of our buildings: they find a face with an eagerness to help,” said Dustin.

While chatting, agents can express kindness and care like in real-life conversations, which makes visitors feel welcomed and understood. “We’re building relationships,” said Dustin.

Usually, there’s one person from the communication team available for chat and he or she handles up to 20 conversations a day. When specific help is needed, the chat gets transferred to another department, like enrollment, human resources, transportation or cultural capacity.

Rebecca from District49 at work with LiveChat

To offer help to visitors who navigate the website or are looking for certain information, Dustin set up greetings in LiveChat. Greeting is a personalized message that automatically appears in a chat window when a visitor takes a certain action. When a visitor goes through several pages on the District 49’s website, he or she is offered an assistance through a chat. When a visitor stumbles on a dead link the chat window pops out saying: ‘How did you get here, what can we help you find?’ “LiveChat helps us discover the concerns people have with our website, large and small,” explained Dustin, “so we can keep our parents from experiencing frustration.”

Cutting edge communication

District 49’s LiveChat saves parents time and is becoming an alternative to phone and email. Only in March, the communication team received 210 chats, 81 tickets and only 9 messages via contact email. “Our families don’t have to worry about finding a phone number, or addressing and writing an email — they can visit D49.org and ask for our immediate assistance whenever necessary,” said Dustin.

Based on early feedback, parents are finding it easier to communicate with District 49 team members, who can better respond to parents’ information needs. As a result, parents are experiencing improved customer service. They’re sending fewer callous massages and having more effective and meaningful dialogues. “Our district-patron communications are tremendously better,” said Dustin. “One parent, who works at a worldwide leader in IT, recently told me that she thinks our communications effort is more cutting edge than her employer.”

In the future, District 49 is looking to expand their LiveChat so that more people from the organization could assist parents with their knowledge. What’s more, front desk staff at one of their schools is currently testing LiveChat out on their ground.

District 49 believes that the ongoing dialogue with parents will help them build a better relationship with their community.

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