Page 22 - Campus Technology, July 2017
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to call somebody — especially if they’re mean-tweeting at 2 o’clock in the morning and our help desk is closed at that time,” she observed.
Similarly, at Arizona State, when a tweet surfaces mentioning “ASU” and “WiFi,” the university’s help center responds as quickly as possible with a suggestion that the student call a number to speak with a support person. Hardly anybody does, noted Eric Dover, director of the help center.
But then that’s not necessarily the point of the response, he added. “Because it’s so public, that message is out there — their friends see that you responded. Others that may be interested in the university see that engagement and the response [as] a sincere interest in trying to help them get the best experience possible. So, it’s two-faceted: It’s helping that student, but it’s also going, ‘Hey, we’re out here to help you as well.’ Our phone number is all over the place with Twitter because every time we respond, our help center phone number is in that tweet.”
Consider Twitter an Early Warning Signal
“We’ve become the canary in the coal mine to some degree with this system,” said Dover. “The students will be posting out there, and we’ll start to notice volume increasing. We expect to see two, three, four [complaints] a day with a university of this size. But when we start to see five or six an hour and it starts to pick up, then we look for
issues developing someplace.” Twitter notifications become the help center’s tip off that bigger problems are surfacing. “Monitoring what students are saying can give you a head’s up even sooner than some of the monitoring tools attached to the infrastructure.”
A couple of years ago, when
Testement brought up posts
on social media about wire-
less issues, she was initially
spurned by U Georgia’s sup-
port personnel. “They would
be dismissive,” she recounted.
“Oh, it’s just somebody com-
plaining on Twitter, and they’re not submitting a help desk ticket.” From a technical standpoint, if someone didn’t sub- mit a ticket or call the help desk or use one of the other “proper channels,” then it was as if the problem didn’t exist.
It took “quite a bit of detective work” for EITS to figure out that the complaints were originating specifically in the residence halls — usually later at night, after the students had come back from the dining hall and settled into their rooms or dorm study halls.
Automate Alerts as Much as Possible
There are a lot of ASUs in the United States — Adams State, Albany State, Alabama State and Appalachian State, just to name a few. A first step in Arizona State’s Twitter response strategy is to make sure the help center is talking to one of its own students. The university’s technology office business intelligence (BI) organization helped by developing a process that searches for “ASU” and “WiFi” in tweets and then checks location information and other clues to filter out people who
Arizona State University

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