In my first year at Leeds Beckett I came up with the idea to build a chatbot. The original idea was for ‘Becky’ to be able to answer some of the question our social media managers got asked frequently. In my demo I also built in the functionality for a user to be supply Becky with their UCAS points and a UCAS code and Becky would bring back that course information (as long as the user met the UCAS requirements). I was given the go ahead to begin developing my demo and with the help of our social media manager and senior developer managed to build the UK’s (possibly the worlds) first chatbot that offered students clearing places. In the final version, students were able to search for courses using both course codes and key words. During the week of clearing Becky gave 215 offers out (89 of which were taken up). This conversion rate of 47% compared extremeley well to the overall conversion rate of 26% and will result in the university recieving almost £2.5 million in tuition fee income.
Becky even made it into the news and featured on the BBC Tech News site front page. In the summer of 2018 Becky won the 2018 Times Higher Education Outstanding Digital Innovation of the Year award and the Heist 2018 award for Best use of innovation in education marketing. Becky has now been running over the past 3 clearing periods and has made over 800 offers and made the university over £10 million in tuition fee income.
Becky is now used all year round answering faqs about student day to day life, graduation, term dates etc. As well as being able to search for courses, a user can now use Becky to search for uni halls too. Becky also has the ability to help a user find a university building, the bot can take a users location and then show them on a map how to get to a university building.