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  • Writer's pictureICS.AI

Transform student recruitment rates and user experience with SMART, AI powered by ChatGPT

Updated: Mar 16, 2023

ICS.AI launch SMART Student Recruitment platform to transform student conversion rates and user experience, providing a unified “student-first” interface powered by AI. Just a 1% increase in each stage of the student recruitment funnel could generate an additional £26m per year in income*.

*Based on real existing conversion data from a leading 17,000 student university in the UK.

University student recruitment is facing many challenges

Post-Brexit changes have seen a drastic decline in applicants from the European Union, and the pandemic has impacted international applicants in general. With international candidates paying more than double domestic fees, it is essential universities invest in tools that make their admissions process effective.

Conversational AI has already proven to aid recruitment, and many higher education institutions are seeking efficient ways to use this technology to increase recruitment rates, boost student satisfaction and, in consequence, increase income.

Compelling “student-first” approach

The student experience when selecting a university is often fragmented, impersonal, and one-sided. With critical information split between multiple locations, such as different websites, emails, portals and search engines, the admissions process often overwhelms and discourages candidates. With AI, Universities have an opportunity to streamline the process and move from a “university-first” approach where students must comply, to a compelling “student-first” approach, where personalised engagement at every funnel stage leads to better outcomes.

Increase conversion rates with SMART Student Recruitment

SMART Student Recruitment (SMART Recruit) is a new student-first platform using AI, Automation and an innovative new UX to provide a personalised admissions journey which leads to larger pipelines and increased conversion rates.

ChatGPT’s ability to expertly answer questions and create content creates an incredible opportunity to enrich the student recruitment process. And by combining the power of ChatGPT with a university language model covering over 1,000 education related topics, ICS.AI’s SMART Recruit leads to a unique and well-rounded human-like experience for end users.

By supporting the entire admissions process with human parity Conversational AI, SMART Recruit could secure incremental conversion at each stage of the recruitment funnel. Just a 1% increase in each stage of the funnel for a 17,000-student university would generate an additional £37m per year in income*.

*Source: Based on existing conversion data from one of ICS.AI’s university customers. Key enhancements with ChatGPT integration:

Improved understanding of complex queries Enhanced handling of casual conversation and small talk (chit chat) Increased flexibility of adding internal topics More natural and resilient telephony conversations More efficient training of language models Greater ability to create custom language models more quickly

How does it work?

Offering highly customised and unified admissions journey via SMART personalised UX, SMART Recruit focuses on students' individual needs and guides them through the admissions process increasing their chances of successfully completing each step.

With the power of human parity Conversational AI, SMART Recruit creates a relationship with prospective students early in the funnel when the volume of applications is too large for personalised human intervention, allowing students to self-serve many of their needs, freeing up staff to engage in activities more likely to drive conversion.

Automated content by funnel stage helps keep candidates engaged and informed, offering a dramatically improved, personalised user experience.

How does personalised AI-driven recruitment help end-users?

Personalisation can improve conversion rates by creating a sense of connection and relevance to the prospective student and tailoring messages and content to align with their interests, needs, and goals. This can demonstrate understanding and a clear value proposition that aligns with their needs.

Research suggests* that personalised communication can lead to a 20-30% increase in conversion rates. What is more, SMART Recruit is geared at improving user experience at every step of the journey:

Machine learning predictions: student propensity predicted at every stage of the funnel to focus resources in the most effective way AI assistant: pre-trained AI Assistant with 24/7 help, freeing up staff time for high-value engagement Hyper-personalised UX: students are presented with content & assistance targeted to their specific needs at each stage of the funnel Self-service automation: students are empowered to self-serve at each stage of the process, helping feel in control Omnichannel: students can engage with processes via multiple channels; phone, website, email, live chat Marketing automation: support to communicate with students at each stage of the funnel to increase conversion through action-driven marketing nurture content built into the process

*Source: ChatGPT Jan ‘23.

Why AI-driven support for recruitment is so essential?

With international student recruitment becoming both more challenging, and more valuable, universities must do their best to attract candidates at every stage of the funnel. With SMART Recruit, increased conversion can lead to an additional £26m in revenue*, made up by:

  • Increased first contact to enquires conversion by 1% = £10.5m in additional revenue

  • Increased enquiry to application conversion by 1% = £4.2m in additional revenue

  • Increased application to offer conversion by 1% = £2.8m in additional revenue

  • Increased offer to acceptance conversion by 1% = £4.2m in additional revenue

  • Increased acceptance to enrolment conversion by 1% = £4.2m in additional revenue

* Numbers for a 17,000-student university.

SMART AI deflection rates

ICS.AI are already helping universities achieve impressive deflection rates with digital self-service through human parity conversational AI across contact channels:

SMART Phone – Achieving 60% deflection SMART AI Live Chat – Achieving 75% deflection SMART AI Email – Achieving 70% deflection SMART AI Chatbot – Achieving 40% deflection

Transform recruitment rates for your university

As the UK market leaders in AI transformation, ICS.AI are already helping universities achieve significant self-service adoption. ChatGPT has the potential to transform the user experience even further.

With SMART Recruit, ICS.AI are utilising the power of human parity SMART AI and ChatGPT for the benefit of the higher education end-users, integrating ChatGPT to further improve student experience and outcomes across all contact channels.


As an AI vendor, we are exclusively focused on the public sector. This means that our Conversational AI is built for higher education and further education with universities and colleges, local government councils, central government and the health sector institutions. We are very close to the specific challenges the sector is experiencing and we’re always exploring ways for Microsoft’s technology to help solve them.

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