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How Conversational AI Can Streamline the Clearing Process for UK Universities

Every year, as A-level results are announced, universities across the UK brace themselves for the clearing process — a critical and busy period that can make or break the academic year for many institutions. Clearing becomes increasingly competitive with each passing year, making the management of student interactions, especially over the phone, absolutely essential.

Though advancements in technology and digital communication continue to shape the way universities operate, traditional communication channels like phone calls persist, often accumulating significant operational costs and anxieties. However, with the evolution of conversational AI, there's a golden opportunity to redefine this process, making it more efficient and student-friendly.

Learning from Another Sector

It might surprise some to find inspiration from local government, but sometimes the most innovative solutions arise from the most unexpected places. Local councils, like Derby City Council, have successfully adopted the SMART Phone AI platform to tackle their communication demands. Their AI-driven solutions managed to handle over 100,000 queries in under 3 months, deflected 43% of calls, and saved a whopping £200,000 against their budget plan. If we juxtapose this with the university clearing process, the potential benefits are evident and compelling.

The Promise of Conversational AI in Clearing

  • 24/7 Access: Students and parents often have queries outside of traditional office hours. Conversational AI can provide round-the-clock responses, ensuring no query goes unanswered

  • Efficiency and Scalability: Unlike human operators who can handle one call at a time, AI can engage with multiple students simultaneously, reducing waiting times significantly

  • Consistent Information: AI ensures that the information shared is consistent, reducing the chances of miscommunication or misinformation

  • Operational Cost Savings: Automating the initial stages of enquiry can drastically reduce operational costs, as demonstrated by Derby City Council's significant savings

  • Data Collection and Analysis: Conversational AI can record and analyse the nature of queries, giving universities insights into common concerns and allowing them to address them proactively in future communication or on their platforms

Beyond Clearing

While clearing is a peak time of demand, the applications of conversational AI aren't limited to this period alone. Think about enrolment queries, accommodation questions, course content clarifications, and much more. The scope is vast.


In an age where students are increasingly tech-savvy and expect swift, clear communication, universities need to stay ahead of the curve. Conversational AI platforms, such as the SMART Phone AI platform, tried and tested in demanding environments like local councils, could be the game-changer that UK universities need.

It's time for universities to embrace this technological leap, ensuring that every prospective student's concerns are addressed efficiently, and that the institution is ready to welcome them into their academic journey.

Join us to find out more - How Derby City Council saved £200,000 against budget plan with adoption of Phone AI

Innovations from one sector can offer valuable insights to another. Join us to explore how phone-based AI, tried and tested in local councils, can translate to solutions for universities aiming to refine their clearing processes - register for the webinar on 23rd August.



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