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How OUA transformed student recruitment with a generative AI agent

Alex Ross

June 10, 20244 minutes

Example of OUA's generative AI agent function of guiding students' initial inquiries

From its inception, Open Universities Australia (OUA) has been committed to providing accessible education to all Australians. Their journey from mailing educational VHSs to listing thousands of online courses demonstrates their adaptability and forward-thinking approach. 

In a recent webinar hosted by LivePerson, OUA shared their latest innovation for supporting prospective students in their higher-education journey: a generative AI agent to enhance and streamline the recruitment process.


Harnessing AI for enhanced student interactions

OUA recognized the need for a more personalized and conversational experience for prospective students looking to learn more about OUA. By integrating LivePerson’s generative AI tools and large language models, they were able to provide immediate, human-like responses via autonomous agents that kept students engaged from the first interaction. This shift not only improved response times but also significantly enhanced the overall student experience resulting in an increase in qualified leads.

OUA’s strategy was defined by 3 key pillars:

1. Curating student engagement

OUA used LivePerson’s AI Studio to build an intelligent agent bot that could handle initial student inquiries with ease and empathy. The bot was designed to mirror the conversational style of OUA’s best student advisors, creating a warm and engaging experience for prospective students. Customer interactions with the AI agent before speaking to human agents (advisors) led to increased customer satisfaction scores, highlighting the effectiveness of this innovative approach.

2. Enhancing lead qualification

The AI agent played a crucial role in qualifying leads by gathering key information from students in a conversational manner. This helped reduce the abandonment rate and ensured that advisors received detailed conversation summaries, enabling them to provide tailored support. OUA saw their lead qualification rate more than double compared to their older scripted AI chatbots and triple compared to self-searching students.

3. Providing efficient and effective support in real-world applications

By automating the initial stages of student interaction, the bot allowed human advisors to focus on providing tailored education support when students were ready, instead of wasting time answering FAQs for early-stage prospects. This not only improved the efficiency of the student advisor team but also enhanced the quality of assistance provided to students. The AI-based agents responded to students in an average of 6.3 seconds, a stark improvement from the human advisors’ average of 1 minute and 57 seconds.


Creating safe and reliable AI agents

OUA’s AI agent is an extension of their brand and they needed it to be something safe and reliable for all users. To ensure the end result of their AI agent work was safe for their students, OUA had some key concerns they needed to address. Before they would open it to consumer use, OUA required that the AI model-based agent would:

  • Not use OUA data or customer responses to train the large language models
  • Process data locally in Australia
  • Have safeguards in place to reduce AI hallucinations

LivePerson’s generative AI goes through rigorous testing before deployments and has safeguards in place to protect against all of OUA’s concerns — which is why OUA knew LivePerson’s AI agent was the right choice for their brand.


Understanding OUA’s AI agent success through the Conversational Flywheel™

OAU’s digital transformation aligns with the Conversational Flywheel, a dynamic framework designed for continuous improvement in customer engagement:

  • Understand: The generative AI agent allowed OUA to gather deep insights into prospective students’ needs and preferences, turning conversations into actionable data. This enabled OUA to provide more relevant and tailored guidance to each student.
  • Connect: To quickly build a seamless, personalized, and helpful AI agent, OUA  fed LivePerson’s KnowledgeAI™ their existing knowledge articles and course information. This integration helps to keep AI-powered answers accurate and up-to-date with OUA’s offerings and business processes.
  • Assist: The AI-driven tool empowered multiple agents and advisors with real-time insights and conversation summaries, making transitions from bot to human advisor smooth and effective. This not only improved efficiency but also ensured that students received the support they needed.
  • Automate: With artificial intelligence handling initial inquiries and qualifications, OUA automated the more routine aspects of student engagement. This allowed human advisors to focus on more complex tasks and meaningful interactions, enhancing the overall efficiency of their support system.

Looking ahead: OUA’s vision for the future

As OUA continues to innovate, their focus remains on expanding the use of generative AI to further improve student and advisor experiences. By continuously evolving their AI agent and exploring new applications of AI technology, OUA aims to maintain its leadership in the higher education sector.


Join the Conversation

Want to learn more about OUA’s use of generative AI chatbots and the impressive results they’ve achieved? Watch the full webinar on demand to hear directly from the experts and discover how gen AI agents can revolutionize student engagement.