Clearing the way for telephony success

Come A-level results day, students across the country will tear open their brown envelopes and be faced with two situations – celebration or disappointment. For the latter, these students must go through the seemingly daunting process of University Clearing.

Despite the millennial’s love of social media and texting, never before has the telephone played such a pivotal role for them. Students must pick up a phone, dial their preferred university and speak to staff about their options. And, while students have the pressure of making the hard decisions, university IT teams have the pressure of seamlessly handling a huge peak in call traffic.

This where SIP trunking can help.

While its benefits are relevant all year, the ISDN-replacement is perfect for organisations that need to be able to scale voice capacity up, and down, when necessary. SIP trunking enables flexibility in a way that is both cost efficient and logistically viable.

For many IT Directors within the public sector, their telecoms journey from A to B can be can be endlessly disrupted by external factors. The job of finding a solution to meet their IT needs is becoming harder and harder.

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Scale quickly and easily

The Clearing process can be a strain on both staff and telecoms infrastructure. While enlisting the help of tutors and students can keep admission teams flexible, traditional telephony often has its limitations. Scaling up to meet demand often requires significant investment in hardware and provision of costly ISDN lines, often under long-term contract, which then becomes redundant once traffic returns to a normal level.

With SIP trunking, universities can become fully scalable. Lines can easily be added with a simple software configuration, and removed once Clearing is over.

Create a dedicated support line

As well as better traffic management, SIP trunking allows universities to provide a better call service for the day. A separate contact number, or additional IVR, can be easily set up and used to route Clearing calls to the correct faculty, with no impact on normal operational traffic.

Added to that, the technology also enables an effective call queuing service. Recorded messages that update students about their progress can reduce call abandonment and ensure that the student experience remains positive from the very beginning.

Plan for the future

Unlike traditional telephony, which requires the upkeep of numerous circuit boxes and dedicated IT support, SIP trunking is IP-based and offer resilience built-in. This simplified solution reduces the strain on IT and allows universities to better monitor their traffic and ensures business continuity in the event of unplanned disruption. While a peak during Clearing can be expected, other peaks can come out of the blue or develop over time. Better monitoring and management can allow for better planning – a key point for many institutions looking to future-proof their infrastructure.

The university market has become a buyer’s market. Universities wishing to fill their places need to ensure every interaction between students and their institution is positive and productive. Ensuring telephony can support the Clearing Day peak is more important than ever.

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19 May 2016 | Sam Winterbottom

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The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.