The Brand

Leeds Beckett is a public university in England that was founded almost 200 years ago. Its mission is to create “enterprising leaders” who are “ready to seize the opportunities that lie ahead.”

The Problem

Clearing Day is an annual process in the United Kingdom that affects rejected university applicants. It helps universities grow their enrollment by offering empty course seats to these individuals.

The university’s goal for launching a chat experience was to reduce its high call volume on Clearing Day. This would help Leeds Beckett automate the clearing process, which is normally conducted over the phone.

Chatbot window on the Leeds Beckett website

The Solution

The university launched a bot named Becky to guide users through the clearing process, and make a course offer in real time based on qualifying questions. How many UCAS points do you have? and What subject are you interested in? are a few questions that Becky asks users. Individuals who qualify can then accept the university’s offer directly within Messenger.

As a result, the admissions staff can now spend their time finalizing the offer and related paperwork instead of manually qualifying hundreds of applicants. Human resources are no longer spent on those who do not meet the requirements.

The Recipe

Leeds Beckett was able to find incredible success with their bot Becky using these Chatfuel features:

  • Customer Chat plugin: A bot can't be effective unless it has users to chat with. To bring potential students to their bot, Leeds Beckett used Chatfuel's Customer Chat plugin to add a Messenger window to their website. Once a website visitor clicks Chat Now, the bot begins interacting with them. That way, site visitors can easily be converted into Messenger-bot subscribers.
  • User Attributes: User attributes are like tags your bot can apply to a subscriber based on their information or preferences. Becky asks users for the data the admissions staff will need, then saves it all in Chatfuel. That way, the staff can access user details and segment applicants as needed. The Save User Phone Number and Save User Email plugins allow the bot to easily gather and store those pieces of information, while the User Input plugin can handle any other type.
Chatbot Becky collecting information from interested parties
  • Notify Admin via Email plugin: This plugin allows your bot to automatically export certain information via email. In this case, whenever Becky qualifies a new lead, an email is instantly sent to the admission staff with all the user's information. From there, the staff will be able to contact them and complete the process personally, all while Becky continues to question and qualify more leads.
The Send Email plugin allows Becky to automatically send user information to the admissions staff via email
  • Live Chat plugin: Becky is equipped to guide users through the basic Clearing Day process without assistance. If a user ever does have a question or issue that requires human intervention, however, Becky makes it easy for them to get help. The Live Chat plugin will connect a user to a human agent upon request.
  • JSON API: The JSON API allows the bot to fetch and share live information from an outside source. In this case, it hooks into the Leeds Beckett course database to gather relevant details and deliver them to bot users. For example, it can display accurate data on how many seats are left in a potential student's desired course.
Becky can fetch real-time information from the university's course database and deliver it to users
"The bot does the heavy lifting to answer lots of people’s questions, but you also need human intervention to rescue people who ask more complex questions.” – Dougal Scaife, Head of Digital Experience

The Results

Leeds Beckett generated $3.1 million in new enrollments from the one-day chatbot campaign. Promotion was entirely organic.

“Chatfuel seemed like the most straightforward platform with the most flexibility, without requiring us to invest a huge amount of money.” — Dougal Scaife, Head of Digital Experience

89 of the 191 students who completed the clearing process accepted the offer, resulting in a 46% conversion rate on Messenger. Compared to phone support, Leeds Beckett nearly doubled their conversion rate using Chatfuel.

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