University of Worcester sails through clearing

Each year, candidates throughout the UK contact University of Worcester in the hope of securing their place

The University of Worcester has a rich history dating back to 1946, when it was established as an emergency teacher training college after WWII. Fast forward to 2020, and with four campuses and millions of pounds worth of investment, this award-winning university is the only higher education institution in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

The team supports around 12,500 students and employs 1,000 staff who celebrated being number one in the UK for Quality Education in the 2019 Global Impact rankings, published by the authoritative Times Higher Education. Days later, they scooped the Internationalisation category at the Guardian University Awards. The award recognises the team’s work to share its approach to inclusive physical education around the world – they were the first in the UK to launch a degree in disability sport.

With its exemplary reputation, once the stressful process of clearing begins, potential students are directing their interest to Worcester in their droves.

So how does the university prepare itself for the mammoth task that is clearing? This fundamental process puts an enormous strain on telephone systems and the university had pain points to tackle ahead of its 2019 efforts. They decided that this was the perfect time to review their annual process.

The challenge

It sounds simple enough, but the team face an extremely high influx of calls from as early as 6am on clearing day, with the peak window being between 9.30am and 10.30am. With each placement being of importance to the university, it is critical that agents are able to answer all calls.

Based at the St John’s Campus, the clearing team have around 150 staff making and taking calls. With such a large team in this operation, it’s clear why preparation begins two weeks in advance.

In previous years, the university had no accurate way of knowing how many calls were going unanswered, when or who from. The university was unable to get in contact with these students, resulting in missed opportunities.

The solution

After learning about Gamma’s Horizon offering, it proved to be the perfect solution. The University of Worcester’s IT network and telecoms manager, Sajid Hussain said: “With the support of Gamma, the set-up process was slick. Both the equipment and software installation and configuration were carried out with the highest levels of professionalism. The Horizon portal was also very straightforward, with everything being set up in under a day.”

The Worcester team noted how happy they were with the seamless integration of Gamma’s services and support. No downtime or disruption meant a smooth and stress free 2019 clearing for the university.

 

 

The results

Horizon gave Sajid Hussain and his team complete control of their phone system and they were able to utilise the extensive range of call handling and management features before and after the event. Horizon also gives the university flexibility as they only have to pay for what they use (on a simple per-seat basis).

Having a robust, flexible telephony platform gave Sajid Hussain peace of mind that the university had the ability to answer all calls and easily manage peak times. With its own secure network, the team were able to rely on Gamma for a smooth clearing, with all of the university’s issues being resolved from day one.

So pleased were the team with these results, they’re looking to expand their use of Horizon and take up the responsive on-site support option next year.

Gamma’s 2019 clearing statistics:

  • Successfully delivered 663,176 calls on clearing day
  • In 2019, only hit 33% of planned capacity
  • 25% increase in universities choosing on-site support
  • Highest increase in universities choosing Gamma’s cloud call centre application to support their clearing
  • In 2019, supported an additional 20% more universities with clearing than in 2018

 

 

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