03 August 2013

"Admissions" Admitting No Wrong for Extended Hold Times

Nassau Community College logo (via Wikipedia Commons)
"Come on down tomorrow," said the CSR. "It's better to do it in person, anyway." She was talking about submitting documentation to the local community Admissions office. That was Thursday. Friday I drove the 11 miles to the campus, which immediately seemed largely deserted.

Deserted, I thought, because school was not in session, No problem, but Admissions is probably working today. It was not a holiday. First I looked for a campus directory or map at the main building, though it wasn't clear from the markings which one was "main." Nothing. But there was a posting that the "Registration and Health" offices had been relocated, so I headed there. It as a brisk 10 minute walk, only to discover a locked door. No signage to indicated closed or open status.

Back in the car, I phoned the main number, which through IVR placed me in the Admissions queue. The recorded message indicated that the campus was closed, but the Admissions queue was open. Well, at least the recordings were played (In essence, "Go read our web site instead," though more polite). Then, "All of our representatives are busy . . ." 

There were perhaps two dozen others parked or strolling the campus, all of them on cell phones. A casual sampling of them suggested that many were trying to reach a college representative for help or directions.


  1. CSR: Before wrap-up, consult the organization's calendar and update the delivered information accordingly. [Training failure]
  2. IVR: The automated systems weren't used to full advantage. Automated wrap-up, usually including the quality message, could give users the option of playing back hours information for the current or following day. Importantly, the IVR may already know the department of interest, so hours should be limited to the listener's already expressed interest. [IVR integration failure]
  3. Use permanent signs to direct users at SMS or web messages with updated hours for main departments. This is useful for institutions with busy calendars, unpredictable closings or when no labor is available to keep physical signage current. [RL integration]

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