January 12, 2021
Did you know that you can reduce school staff burden by using an AI chatbot?
Throughout every school district, there are front office administrators, school resource officers, guidance counselors, or teachers acting as the glue that makes the whole school work – fielding questions from parents, handling the logistics of the school day, and connecting students with resources or information so they can get through the year. Students and families vastly outnumber the number of school staff acting as resources and as any educator knows, the number of questions that the student body generates on a daily basis has no upper limit. With a shift from phone calls to emails, the volume of questions and time each response requires has gone up.
The same shift in communicating with school via phone versus over email is similar to how people have shifted to texting as their primary mode of communication. The thought of providing a number that parents and students can text might seem like an invitation for chaos given the hundreds of text messages most people send in a given day. It would likely be a full-time position for multiple people to handle such an undertaking.
The good news is that new artificial intelligence technology can turn texting chaos into a streamlined communication system for school administrations. By introducing basic automation with advanced conversational modeling, school systems can use an AI Chatbot to both automatically send messages regarding student participation (attendance) and respond to an unlimited number of student and parent questions, regarding an unlimited number of topics.
There is a huge variety in the type of questions students and parents contact school staff regarding. Sometimes it is a simple question like “what time is school dismissal,” but other times questions will be more complex, for example “how does my son/daughter obtain a school-issued laptop.” While the first example would be a quick response of “3:15 pm” over the phone, it requires a staff member to answer the phone, provide an introduction, and field the question. The second example would be more time consuming and complicated. In most cases, an email will be more convenient for parents, but even more, time-consuming for staff members and a bit more of a wait between asking and receiving a response. For complex questions that take a few minutes to answer, the phone is lighting up with more questions to be answered as soon as the call ends.
In both cases, an AI Chatbot would be more efficient. Frequently asked questions can be pre-populated into the system, while more complex questions are handled by the system’s learning capabilities. In the laptop example, an AI chatbot would take the term laptop and recognize that this was a technology question. From there it would begin providing information from what the system knows about technology resources – information like the webpage for registering for a school-issued device, where devices would be picked up, and more. As the chatbot provides information back to the “asker” it will prompt additional questions to ensure that the person is receiving the correct information. Typically, the chatbot is able to handle the entire interaction. In the event that the asker’s question has not been answered, the chatbot will then provide that information back to a school staff member and connect the two parties.
The other way an AI Chatbot can help reduce the burden on school staff members is by following up with students and parents regarding school attendance. In most districts, considerable resources are put towards attendance related follow-up. Staff members are required to email and call families to communicate attendance expectations and any missed school days. An AI Chatbot allows districts to reach out regarding attendance via automated texts – ensuring that people are seeing important information and reducing the resources required to conduct such outreach. Chronic absenteeism is a growing concern for every educator. An AI chatbot can reduce absenteeism by establishing awareness and engaging students and families on their terms.
Schools rely on school staff members as brand ambassadors, however, in many cases, this reliance becomes a burden to staff members and pulls them away from more impactful activities. An AI Chatbot allows schools to handle an unlimited number of questions, 24 hours a day, without requiring any resources beyond setting the system up and routine maintenance. Schools have an opportunity to reduce staff burden while updating their communication processes to meet the changing preferences of students and parents. If your district is interested in employing an AI chatbot to streamline communication, AllHere can help. AllHere AI Chatbot provides two-way text-based communication to schools, students, and families. Not only does the Chatbot reduce the reliance on staff members as resources, but it also improves overall attendance rates – a win-win for any district.