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Can Higher Ed Tech Support Benefit from a Tech Makeover?

Tech support in higher education might benefit from some technology-driven enhancements. Fewer college IT departments are currently using technology to automate help features compared with their counterparts in other sectors. And two-thirds of them are missing their targets for first call resolution.

Also, in spite of the fact that in-person support is the priciest of the options compared to phone, e-mail, and online chat ($20 versus $18, $15, and $10, respectively), nearly eight out of 10 schools still provide support to people who simply walk up to a help desk.

These are the latest findings of the "HDI Benchmark Report for Education," recently published by Bomgar, a vendor that sells an appliance for remote support. The survey tallied responses from more than 1,000 support centers in multiple segments. The company extracted data to develop a copy of the report specifically for support operations in colleges and universities.

Support centers in the education sector are less likely than support centers overall to employ the use of automated support mechanisms in their operations, such as remote monitoring and support utilities, knowledge management software, or customer satisfaction tools.

Those gaps, according to Bomgar, present an opportunity to higher education to improve services by integrating technology into their support offerings. For instance, seven out of 10 education respondents don't offer online chat within their support centers in spite of the fact that young people resist the standard offering of phone-based support. Yet, at Central Michigan University, the introduction of chat along with remote support decreased time-to-resolution "significantly." Help Desk Manager Jeff McDowell has found that "the upcoming freshman class is now starting to chat with us more than our upper classmen." This shows, he added, "that we're providing students of the future with what they want."

A copy of the report is available online here.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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