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  • 23 March 2011 09:34

RightNow Customer University of New England Wins Award for Customer Experience in the 2011 Gartner and 1to1 Media CRM Excellence Awards, EMEA/APAC Region

Presented at the 2011 Gartner Customer Relationship Management Summit, London

Sydney - March 23, 2011 - RightNow (NASDAQ:RNOW) Australian customer, The University of New England (UNE), has won the Gartner and 1to1 Media CRM Excellence Award in the category of Customer Experience.

The Gartner and 1to1 Media awards programme highlights innovative organisations that make a big impact through their customer relationship strategy and achieve an unrivalled level of excellence in delivering customer experience.

As the Customer Experience category winner announced at an awards event staged in London, The University of New England successfully demonstrated to the judging panel how it has deployed a unified customer experience solution to provide outstanding customer service to students across the entire student lifecycle. This includes everything from the first point of contact with a prospective student through to graduation, post-graduate courses, and beyond.

The university's objectives evolved over time from cost-efficient enquiry management towards excellence in student support across multiple interaction channels. To meet these objectives, UNE needed to provide: 24/7 self-service; responsive staff-assisted service; proactive, contextual support for students at various stages across the student lifecycle; and the extension of student support and collaboration using social media. The university also wanted a 360-degree view of students, giving it the capability to build a superior relationship.

In support of its strategy, the university deployed RightNow CX, the customer experience suite, which powers integrated web, social and contact centre interactions. UNE is utilising a broad set of functionality including the unified knowledge base, web self-service, email management, live chat, dynamic agent desktop, smart form processing, e-marketing functionality and analytics for comprehensive reporting.

The university has now structured its customer experience strategy to provide the following benefits to students:

• A highly personalised, consistent online experience, from initial contact through to first enrolment and beyond, including automated contextual assistance during the admissions and enrolment phases.

• 24/7 access to high quality answers, many authored by students themselves, which empower students to self-help, no matter where they live, or what time of day they need help.

• The ability to communicate using the channel of each student’s choice – phone, email, live chat, web self-service or walk-in – with consistent answers, processes and knowledge of prior interactions.

• Tailored, proactive communication to enhance students’ university experience.

The initiative has also dramatically changed how the university interacts with students, enabling it to be more proactive through outbound marketing, lead capture and email communications. At the same time, the system is replacing paper with electronic records, and through its integration with the university’s existing records management system, is removing the need for duplication.

“Perhaps the greatest testament of success is UNE’s substantial revenue growth in the past two years, as a result of a progressive increase in UNE’s applications and enrolments, following several years of decline. This turnaround is unlikely to have been possible without the customer experience solution,” says Patrick Tobin, Project Director, Student Relationship Management, University of New England.

“We now have the ability to service the entire student-to-alumni lifecycle from a single system; we’ve driven significant efficiencies thanks to the online knowledgebase and system workflows; and fewer staff are required to respond to student enquiries and with a shorter turn-around time.

“A top priority for the university is to regain our position as a leading distance education provider. We are now pushing to become known not just as a leading Australian university, but a global provider as well. Our customer experience initiative gives us the tools to best reach all of our constituents – no matter where they are in the world – using the best communication channels possible. UNE is also renowned for its high satisfaction ratings amongst its student body and over the past decade has earned a Five Star rating for Teaching Quality and Graduate Satisfaction. The RightNow solution is central to our ability to consistently offer these high levels of personalised service,” says Tobin.

Steve Daines, Vice President Asia Pacific, RightNow, said, “We are delighted that the University of New England has been honored with this Gartner award. We believe this is a testament to the value that the RightNow CX solution brings to the higher education sector as well as the combined skills and expertise within RightNow and the university in achieving a successful deployment. The higher education sector continues to face enormous pressures to compete in the marketplace as well as regulatory challenges and demands to improve income and reduce operating costs. We look forward to working with the sector to overcome these issues by providing industry-leading solutions that result in long term and mutually rewarding relationships.”

About The University of New England

The University of New England was the first Australian university established outside a capital city. With a history extending back to the 1920s, UNE has a well-earned reputation as one of Australia's great teaching, training and research universities. Its graduates consistently rate their experience at UNE highly, a reflection of the University's commitment to student support. Around 90,000 graduates now hold UNE qualifications with many in senior positions in Australia and overseas. UNE has built up its academic profile to the point where it now has more than 500 PhD candidates, an important sign of the University's academic vigour and rigour.

About RightNow

RightNow is helping rid the world of bad experiences one consumer interaction at a time, eight million times a day. RightNow CX, the customer experience suite, helps organisations deliver exceptional customer experiences across the web, social networks and contact centres, all delivered via the cloud. With more than ten billion customer interactions delivered, RightNow is the customer experience fabric for nearly 2,000 organisations around the globe. To learn more about RightNow, go to www.rightnow.com

RightNow is a registered trademark of RightNow Technologies, Inc. NASDAQ is a registered trademark of The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC.

The identification of a Gartner Award winner is not an endorsement by Gartner of any vendor, product or service.

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