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Instant Messaging Applicant Manager (IMAM)

Announcing the Sofiri Instant Messaging Applicant Manager (IMAM)  – a new product to help education providers and agents keep up with International Gen Y and Z  student communication trends and demands.

Benefiting from instant messaging is the new challenge for international admissions at universities, colleges and agencies.

International recruiters are constantly facing new challenges from regulators, competition and aspiring students.  These challenges and trends create opportunities but also pitfalls, if they are not responded to.

Some can be handled with simple process changes, others require the process to be re-engineered.

The latest QS International Student Survey 2019 snapshot about prospective international students considering Australia indicates that prospective students appear to be moving more rapidly than expected towards using social media and instant messaging in learning about overseas studies.

  • 87% of prospective international students use social media at some point in their decision making process, with the most common use (i.e. 72%) being before making an initial enquiry and 34% when applying. 

Specifically, 

  • 52% of prospective international students prefer to use Facebook at all stages of communication with a university, 67% to make an enquiry and 65% to chat after an enquiry.
  • 53% of prospective international students prefer to use SMS/Text at all stages of communication with a university, 63% to make an enquiry and 63% to chat after an enquiry. 
  • 58% of prospective international students prefer to use real-time chat at all stages of communication with a university; 73% to make an enquiry and 69% to chat after an enquiry. 

Another study by educations.com, International Higher Education Report 2019, suggests that prospective international students increasingly rely on search engines and social media to make a decision about studying abroad. 

  1. 84% prospective vs 73% current students use search engine
  2. 35% prospective vs 32% current students use social media

In terms of expectations of prospective international students regarding education provider responses to initial inquiries, 43% of prospective international students expect a response from the education provider admissions within not longer than one day.

In addition, 81% of prospective international students expect personalised communication with specific information answering explicitly their questions. 

How are international admissions at universities going to handle this shift in prospective international student expectations?

If thousands of enquiries and messages come in through WhatsApp and Facebook messenger, how are they going to be handled?  Adding staff to answer queries is a costly and short term solution, if not that then….

Technology is the answer to create the efficiencies required to deliver high quality service, create a competitive advantage and address the challenges of the new trend.

Sofiri.com, the start-up that is using social media and shared economy principles to connect prospective international students with expert counsellors has created a solution to handle large numbers of facebook messages with minimal human intervention- this new product is called the Sofiri Instant Messaging Applicant Manager (IMAM). Using bots and natural language A.I., Sofiri is able to qualify, respond automatically and distribute the remaining queries to the correct channels and individuals within education providers and agents to ensure inquiries are handled quickly.

Once a student has been qualified, they will be able to enjoy everything the Sofiri platform has to offer. Aspiring student can chat with either education provider relevant staff members or specific education agents, they will receive notifications automatically on their Facebook messenger accounts. Applications can also be created, there are  request for documents, GTE checks and student can also use our innovative Statement of Purpose Builder.

The Sofiri Instant Messaging Applicant Manager (IMAM) does not interfere with the existing systems of a university and all it needs is access to the education providers facebook messenger.

George Hernandez, Founder of Sofiri, commented “research has clearly indicated that prospective international students want to communicate directly with the provider (bypassing third parties) and that they want to use Facebook messenger, which is an instant messaging platform. They want to get immediate answers and via the bot a significant number of queries can be addressed on the spot.”

Sofiri has taken its learnings over the past 18 months and developed a specific solution for universities via the Sofiri Instant Messaging Applicant Manager (IMAM) as a service to manage their Facebook messenger enquiries. Sofiri plans to roll out the same features over WhatsApp, Instagram, and WeChat in the future.

For further information go to imam.sofiri.com

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