Supporting College Students 24/7: Akademos’ Expanded Customer Experience Program

Visit any college dorm room in America and it becomes obvious: students don’t operate on a typical 9-5 schedule.

Instead, they’re active at all hours, and this impacts everything from when they eat to when they study and even how they shop for course materials for their classes. While most people shop online at 8pm on Monday, students may be in prime textbook buying mode at 5am on a Sunday, accommodating their social, work, and class schedule.

To help students easily find and choose the right course materials at any time, Akademos has implemented a number of customer support programs to make getting the right course materials easier and quicker than ever before.

There’s no better team member than Akademos’ Senior Customer Experience Manager, Ben Plunkett, who has been delivering stellar customer experiences for students since 2014, to explain the improvements he and his team have implemented, what it means for students, and how it helps universities support their students.

Q: Ben, what’s the story behind the expanded 24/7 customer support hours?

A: While we have always had longer customer support hours during back to school, from 9am to 8pm during weekdays and Saturday 9am to 5pm in every US time zone, we’ve made the decision to launch 24/7 customer support coverage from August 1, 2019 until we see that support inquiries return to normal levels.

Our primary goal is to make sure that any question or concern is addressed quickly to the full satisfaction of our customers so that every student has a great experience with TextbookX, our online bookstore.

Q: How long will these extended service hours last?

A: There’s no pre-set end date because we want to ensure that we maintain the capacity to help our clients until there’s no longer the need. We’ll support students until the calls stop coming in and then go back to our normal service hours—and start 24/7 support again during Spring ordering season.

Plus, we recently launched a new help page for our TextbookX platform. It gives students a customized, dynamic FAQ that responds to their information or their specific order, giving them the answer they need, not just a generic guide to the answer.

The new customized, dynamic FAQ allows students to get self-service help based on their specific needs or order.

Of course, if they need additional help, that’s where our team comes in.

Q: How did you decide to offer 24/7 extended service?

A: This actually came as a direct result of our conversations with our client, University of Oklahoma.

To continuously improve OU’s academic experience and student success rates, they’re trying to get their students to order course materials early so they’re prepared for class from day one. If students are able to get the questions about course materials answered in real-time, they’ll have the confidence to make that purchase earlier so they’ll be ready for class, which is where our 24/7 support comes in.

I have been using TextbookX now for over two years... They have always been very helpful and more than willing to go the extra mile for me in all and any of my needs and requirements. I would never feel the need to look anywhere else for any of my textbook needs.”

- Bonnie M., Akademos/TextbookX Customer

What we also realized is that we needed to enhance our return policy in tandem with upgrading our support hours. By extending the return window for purchases up to 2 weeks after the first day of class, this will accommodate the vast majority of add/drop periods for students and take away concern over getting course materials too early.

Now, students will come to class with exactly what they need to be successful, not waiting until late into the term to get their course materials—and our team will help support them every step of the way.

Q: What are you hearing from Akademos customers about this expanded support?

A: The reception has been extremely positive! Customers told us they were more comfortable with ordering and they’re happy about these changes.

We’re constantly trying to improve the customer experience and make sure that any concerns or issues that a student or even faculty might run into are preemptively solved. Oftentimes, I will personally respond to messages or online reviews so I can figure out what we can do to get ahead of tomorrow’s problems.

...the customer service and staff are very friendly. They were able to resolve my issue in a timely manner, all the way provided great customer service. I will continue to do business with them - great books, amazing prices and outstanding service!”

- M Menjivar, Akademos/TextbookX Customer

We know that transitioning from a physical to an online bookstore can bring up some anxiety for students because they may not know where to go to get answers to their questions. But we’re always thinking and improving to ensure everyone is supported.

When students need support, it’ll be my team and I answering their calls—whether it’s 3AM on a Sunday morning or 3PM on a Wednesday afternoon. It’s this type of service and availability that helps students succeed.

Ben and his Customer Experience team will be ready to answer questions and provide guidance to students, giving them the confidence to order their materials and come to class prepared.

To learn more about Akademos online course materials platform that benefits college administrators, faculty,  and students, contact us here.

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