The question came up during planning for the current enrollment cycle: If we know that calls to the TCC Information Center increase every July and August and that some callers will have trouble getting through, why not increase the number of people who answer phones?
We made it happen, and now there are 36 trained volunteers who will supplement Information Center staff through Aug. 24. Employees from departments college-wide signed up.
The call for volunteers went out in June. Meanwhile, the Information Center team devised the training volunteers would need to respond to incoming calls from prospective students.
The phone system was reprogrammed and the menu changed so that callers who had never applied to TCC would be routed to the volunteers. That eliminated the need for volunteers to access SIS.
Volunteers (including a certain college president) signed up for two-hour shifts starting at 8:30 a.m. As of Tuesday, they have handled 752 calls!
Metrics will tell us if the increase in capacity worked. The abandoned-call rate in August 2014 was 19 percent, which itself was a huge improvement compared to 2013. During non-peak enrollment periods, the rate is consistently below 5 percent.
The goal for 2015 is an abandonment rate in the single digits. We may not know whether fewer abandoned calls will result in an enrollment increase, but as we like to say around here, “Each one counts.”