As one of the largest online universities, University of Phoenix wanted to build a digital community for its students. There was a social media team in place, but it wanted to improve response times and deliver more personalized experiences on social.
Friendship and inspiration discovered on social
Last year, University of Phoenix asked students on Facebook to tag people who supported them throughout their academic journey. One student named her best friend, who had attended University of Phoenix while undergoing chemotherapy and fighting cancer. Unfortunately, she passed away before receiving her diploma. The student posting to Facebook explained that her late friend was her inspiration to go back to school and, when she graduated, she wanted to walk with her friend’s diploma and complete that journey for her.
The social media team at University of Phoenix saw an opportunity to help. They contacted the husband and son of the friend who’d passed and flew them out to the commencement ceremony. They also filmed the woman walking in honor of her friend and created an entire video about their friendship, even launching a new scholarship in their name. It all happened because of one social media post – and a social team that had the tools and foresight to respond.
With Sprinklr’s Core and Social Listening Solutions, University of Phoenix can now find and tell these amazing stories. But their social capabilities weren’t always so streamlined.
Used Sprinklr’s Social Listening to monitor and organize student conversations across social channels.
Devised a program of monthly study sessions on Facebook.
Used Sprinklr’s inbound tags to identify active and loyal participants for surprise and delight campaigns.
Used Sprinklr’s automated reporting to analyze and improve SLA response time.
We used three different platforms for social media,” says Amy Ortega, senior manager of content production and community strategy. “None of them had all the requirements we needed in a social listening tool, making it difficult to manage social media, understand past interactions, and pull analytics.
Building a community of online students
It’s tough to keep university students engaged with their communities, especially when the campus is virtual. That’s the challenge University of Phoenix faced.
Since 1976, University of Phoenix has pioneered an accessible way for working adults to pursue higher education. While there are physical campuses around the U.S., most students attend courses online. Many struggled to find community without opportunities to interact in person.
University of Phoenix wanted to provide these opportunities on social media, but their community management team used disjointed platforms and couldn’t collect social queries across channels or develop a unified view of each student.
As a result, the team wanted a tool that would help it save time and respond to students more effectively.
“Our goal was to find a platform that could help us determine a student’s relationship with the University across all social media channels,” Amy says. “We wanted a simplified solution that didn’t require us to toggle back and forth between systems. We also wanted a system that was able to track profile history so we could easily identify past interactions.”
Finding a unified social solution
“We spent over a year exploring several different platforms,” says Amy. “When we went through Sprinklr, my coworker’s eyes got so big. He was really excited.”
A few months later, they transitioned their operation to Sprinklr, which has enabled University of Phoenix to further engage with students and build a larger social community outside of online classrooms.
Hosting study sessions through facebook events
University of Phoenix now hosts study sessions on its Facebook for students to ask questions, seek support, and hit the books – together.
The first session – which launched in December 2016 – was an immediate success with 500 attendees.
“Our students loved it,” Amy notes. “They were sharing how excited they were and talking about work they had to complete. They craved this connection with each other.”
Now the team runs monthly sessions that draw around 1,200–2,000 students. Since sessions are themed around big events – such as the Super Bowl – the community managers can plan relevant polls and questions to stimulate the conversation.
“Our entire social team is all hands on deck,” Amy says. “There are four of us responding to students, and we divvy up which posts we’re going to cover.”
This approach allows the community managers to engage in fun, personalized conversations with each student.
“We have a few students that we even recognize by name,” says Victoria Ryan, social media community manager. “We know their personalities, they know ours, and we have created real relationships.”
Tracking thousands of engagements with custom tags
The team uses Sprinklr to create custom inbound tags for each study session. The tags automatically pull in the thousands of engagements generated around each event.
“All of our interactions are stored in one spot,” explains Victoria. “This makes it easier for us to see whether students have replied on other social media sites as well. It’s all right there for us.”
The team can then use those engagements to inform future sessions.
“We don’t have to spend hours and hours going through everything,” Amy points out. “We can pull a report, see how the study session did, and then pull key insights.”
Rewarding advocates with “random acts of phoenix”
Using Sprinklr Social Listening, the team flagged 10–15 students who had been particularly active in the sessions. They randomly selected a few of those students and sent them study session survival kits as a part of “Random Acts of Phoenix,” an ongoing surprise and delight campaign. These kits contain fun study snacks, University of Phoenix swag, and other small gifts.
“Through Sprinklr, we can flag potential study kit swag recipients,” says Amy. “We can also see past interactions with students before they receive the study kit and see how they engage with us after receiving one.”
Decreased time, increased engagement
With Sprinklr, the community management team has increased content output by 57% and increased the customer response rate from 3.6% to 18.6% year-over-year. In fact, they have two full-time community managers who are posting more responses than the five full-time community managers who used to complete this task. The team has also decreased its SLA by 46%.
“Before, if you wanted someone to review your comment, you had to do it through email or someone had to come over and look,” Victoria says. “Now, with Sprinklr, the peer review process is seamless and we can say, ‘Hey, can you look at my comment real fast?’”
The team also has access to much more robust reporting. At its bi-weekly meetings, the team can share metrics, such as total volume of posts, percentage change of volume from the previous year, posts with most engagements, engagement by social channel, and change in sentiment.
Positive sentiment jumped from 67% to 91% in just a year. And negative sentiment dropped from 33% to 9%, indicating that students are not just participating more, they’re truly enjoying the experience of connecting with their school and colleagues.
And with inbound tags, the team can unearth new opportunities for storytelling. All they have to do is add the tag for a potential story and revisit it as a team in their meetings.
“With Sprinklr, the fact that we can flag something and find ways to turn a simple comment into an entire video that’s inspiring to other students is pretty cool,” Amy says.
Delivering more personalized customer experiences
With a bird’s-eye view of the customer, the team better understands how to help students in any situation. “Using the dashboard to see the past interactions has really helped us personalize our own interactions,” Victoria adds. “We know if a student has had a perception turnaround, if they’ve been continuously disgruntled, or if this is a new instance.”
The team also uses Sprinklr to set reminders to check on students whose posts indicate that they’re having a hard time. One woman asked for them to send her a letter since she was dealing with personal challenges and needed a pick-me-up. Victoria and Ashley delivered with a full-page, handwritten note.
“We went back to all the conversations we had with her, and pulled out pieces that we thought would be really motivating,” Ashley says. “She mentioned she wanted to graduate at the same time as her kids. We referenced that in the letter, and encouraged her to see the graduation stage.”
These kinds of human interactions elevate a social strategy from great to unforgettable. That’s why, with the right platform at their fingertips, the University of Phoenix social team delivers life-changing experiences and builds an online home for students around the world.
As Amy says, “Now it’s all about building a relationship with every person you talk to and making them feel special. And we find ways to go above and beyond every chance we get on social media.”