Amidst Growing Enrollment Rates, Texas A&M University Deploys Qless Queue Management
With hours-long waits causing frustration, the Money Education Center found a queue management solution designed for higher education.
Over the past decade, Texas A&M University has experienced skyrocketing enrollment rates. Although this is a huge opportunity for the university, it’s also created challenges for their student scholarships and financial aid department, who were experiencing higher call volumes and in-person visits.
Recognizing the need to improve queues and wait times, the Money Education Center, a department in the Scholarships and Financial Aid Office, knew that they wanted to implement software that would create a virtual queueing experience for the students. Unfortunately, many queue management designs were not optimal for higher education and did not understand the specific pain points that Texas A&M was experiencing. When they found Qless — and discovered that it had been adopted by colleges and universities of all sizes across the U.S. — they were able to successfully implement it to manage in-person and phone advising.
Texas A&M University is a research-intensive public university in College Station, Texas. Centrally located between Austin and Houston, Texas A&M offers a convenient campus to capture student enrollments from both major cities. This geographic advantage has created many excellent opportunities, but also some challenges for the university.
One of the biggest challenges and opportunities for Texas A&M are their increasingly high enrollment rates. Over the last decade, enrollment has skyrocketed — reflecting trust in the institution. Unfortunately, it has also caused problems for departments that are slow to upgrade and digitize, as they have experienced problems handling the modern workload.
““With our phone queues, some students would wait on hold for hours to talk to an advisor. We knew that this needed to change in order for us to successfully grow our enrollment.”
– Nicholas Kilmer, Assistant Director of the Money Education Center
Since many students rely on scholarships and financial aid to attend the university, one department that has been struggling with increased demand is the Money Education Center, within the Scholarships and Financial Aid Office. Questions about scholarships and financial aid are directed to call centers, while advising could be conducted in-person or remotely. Over the last few years, they have experienced longer lines and wait times, leading to student and staff frustration. Unfortunately, again, students would suffer excessive wait times — sometimes forced to wait hours for help. Assistant Director of the Money Education Center, Nicholas Kilmer, said “With our phone queues, some students would wait on hold for hours to talk to an advisor. We knew that this needed to change in order for us to successfully grow our enrollment.” Kilmer was motivated to propose the purchase of a virtual queue management platform for his department.
The Money Education Center knew that they needed a solution that could manage wait times for both their in-person appointments and their call centers. Unfortunately, many queue management designs were not programmed for universities and colleges. They wanted a provider that understood the unique pain points of higher education and had experience in managing those issues. After significant research, they found Qless. “What stood out to me was that Qless was already successfully implemented at many other colleges and universities. Since it was successful for those schools, I knew that it would also be successful for us,” said Kilmer.
Qless offers choices of in-person and callback queues, where the Money Education Center could implement a consistent system across all of their advising options. Now, when students need information on anything from scholarships, to financial aid, to veterans education benefits and more, they can join a virtual queue from their personal device. From there, they’ll receive text updates about their place in line. When it’s their turn, they’ll receive a notification prompting them to return to the advising office. The callback system functions similarly: students join a virtual callback queue, receiving notification about their place in line. When they reach the front of the queue, an advisor returns their call.
The Qless queue management system has been a major success, both for students and for staff. Instead of hours-long waits on phone calls or in cramped lobbies, students can now join the virtual queue and go about their day until it’s their turn for advising at the Money Education Center. “The Qless approach has improved the experience for students, but it’s also improved the experience for staff members at the advising office,” said Kilmer. During the pandemic, Qless proved to be even more beneficial, as it allowed students to continue receiving the same services and experiences that they were used to, only safer and with physical distancing precautions.
For campuses experiencing similar pain points with wait times or with physical distancing measures, Kilmer highly recommends looking into Qless and implementing it in academic settings.
“With Qless, we’ve found efficiencies and ways to become more effective in our offices. Transitions are never easy; I can definitely say that on the other end of this transition, we're immensely better off.”