full chat integration
faster response time
satisfaction with chat
Ranked among some of the best online university programs by U.S. News & World Report, Perdoceo Ed’s academic institutions offer a quality postsecondary education to a diverse student population, along with campus-based and blended learning programs. The company’s regionally accredited institutions – Colorado Technical University (“CTU”) and the American InterContinental University System (“AIU”) – provide degree programs from the associate through doctoral levels. Perdoceo is committed to providing quality education that closes the gap between learners who seek to advance their careers and employers needing a qualified workforce.
Sendbird gives us the ability to turn around and support our users by giving them what they're asking for, as well as the ability to customize to our wildest dreams has been very helpful.
Perdoceo’s campuses functioned similarly to other traditional on-campus and online universities across the US. This includes how students interacted with their advisors and professors, usually via in-person appointments or email. However, Perdoceo Product Manager Imaan Sareshwala and her team sought to digitally transform the status quo “and make it easier for students to communicate with faculty and staff.” Not all conversations required the time and energy of an in-person meeting, and the longer response time of emails was not ideal. Sareshwala states that the intent was to “have a faster and less formal method of ongoing conversation and outreach for students with their advisors and faculty.”
Additionally, the standard forms of communication could sometimes be intimidating for some students. “The formality of it could be daunting for students at times. We wanted to have an open channel, an open conversation throughout their enrollment with us between the advisors to continue coaching them and encouraging them to keep going,” elaborates Sareshwala. On the other end, faculty would be able to check-in with students more regularly and better remind them of priorities such as assignment due dates and upcoming exams.
With these challenges in place and the want to take student communication to the next level, Perdoceo began its search for a chat vendor.
Like many other customers, while Perdoceo did consider the possibility of building chat functionality in-house, they quickly realized that it was not worth the dedication of time, headcount, and resources. “We didn’t feel the need to invest in building out our own API to do all of this. So we searched for a vendor who specialized in that but still gave us full control over the front end.”
However, Perdoceo also needed a solution that would provide the feature set robust enough for their use case and make students feel more supported than their previous options. “The core feature we were looking for was two-way messaging. Students can stay connected with our faculty and staff, but we also really like the read receipts,” says Sareshwala. Read receipts are crucial because of how Perdoceo conducts “a lot of our reporting, as we have certain performance metrics to ensure that the students are being helped in a timely manner.”
Furthermore, scalability was another significant concern for Perdoceo. Across their three main campuses are tens of thousands of students prospectively using chat to communicate with university staff. The life of an advisor is hectic, and “they get asked questions all the time, which is good,” says Sareshwala, “we encourage that rapport with the students and make sure that we’re always available.” As such, reliable performance and uptime, as well as being able to support larger growing incoming classes, were vital. With Sendbird’s ability to support 250+ million monthly active users worldwide, Perdoceo was confident in Sendbird’s traffic capabilities.
Finally, Sendbird’s superior customer experience was a significant differentiator from the competition. “Responsiveness and support from the team were so important for us,” says Sareshwala, “if we’re going to invest in such a vendor who will help us build, we want to make sure that when issues arise or questions come up, we have the support we need. Sendbird really checked that box for us.”
End-to-end, Perdoceo completed building chat and integrated with their other existing web applications, portal, and mobile applications within six months. According to Sareshwala, this was only achievable by having a third-party vendor like Sendbird allow them to buy and build chat versus building it in-house. Overall, Perdoceo saved at least four months on their product roadmap with Sendbird.
Engagement has also significantly increased as well between students and university staff. With the informal nature of chat, communications have become simple “quick messages.” Sareshwala explains that “we were approaching it as a fast text type scenario where, ‘hey, I have a quick question, professor. What do you think?’ Rather than typing out a whole email with all this context. The idea was this doesn’t need to be daunting.” Conversations across the educational spectrum from academic, admissions, and financial can now all occur within Perdoceo’s mobile app.
Perdoceo has also built a private dashboard with role-based permissions, allowing administration to track which messages by students have yet to be responded to and for how long. If a certain amount of time has passed, the admin will notify the staff that a student is still awaiting a response. This allows each campus to promptly address messages and provide a satisfactory experience for students.
Currently, with the help of Sendbird, over 90% of Perdoceo’s students are satisfied with chat. Messages are now addressed no later than 12 hours (often times much faster), and more than 100% faster than what the average student deems acceptable. The company is continuously iterating on top of the application to best improve how staff and students interact with each other, and with Sendbird, will continue to expand with generations of incoming students to come.