The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, the HvA, is always looking for channels that meet the wishes and requirements of its students. This is why the HvA chose WhatsApp as the perfect addition.
Hogeschool van Amsterdam
Why the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences goes for WhatsApp
“Nearly all students use WhatsApp. The channel is user-friendly, to the point, and has a pleasant and informal character”, says Joost Dirkson, Head Services Administrative Center HvA. “Additionally, handling the questions via WhatsApp is a lot more convenient than via social media. People often tend to vent their opinions quite loudly via social media because of the public character. Another advantage of WhatsApp is that we have the cell phone numbers of most students. This allows us to link a WhatsApp conversation to the student’s personal situation, hugely beneficial when we have to answer specific questions.”
The reactions on the WhatsApp chats are generally very positive. “Almost all conversations with students have a positive tone of voice, even when the answer to their question can be negative. We see that many chats are ended with smileys and thanks! This also feels good for those who handle the questions”, says Dirkson. The HvA also notices that questions are answered very fast and effectively. “The conversations are much more concrete and to the point than when they are conducted by phone or email. Another advantage is the multimedia aspect, such as sharing files and sending URLs.
After a first pilot period around the time of the HvA Open Day, the results were hugely positive. This is why the HvA chose to roll out the channel further. And even though the HvA decided not to promote the channel widely, the organization already receives around 200 questions via WhatsApp per week. “We consciously chose to start the use of WhatsApp low-key. Nevertheless, we already receive a significant number of messages per week. At its peak, during the start of the academic year, we got more than 1000 messages. WhatsApp relieves the pressure on other channels. This is mainly noticeable in the reduction of incoming emails. That is also why Dirkson expects that the number of questions by phone will reduce as the HvA starts to promote the use of WhatsApp more widely.”
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