Instant messaging and chat rooms have switched from entertaining students to answering their technological queries.
Bryan Lucas, executive director of Technology Resources said customer service staff came up with the idea and implemented a chat room program last February. The program is another way the Computer Help Desk can help students from anywhere on or off campus, he said.
Customer service staff thought a chat program would be a good way to communicate with students, Lenelda Pennington, associate director of customer services, said.
“We all use (instant messagin) and chat services, which are common tools used by many businesses, so we thought it seemed like a next step to include this communication tool for the help desk,” Pennington said.
The link for the chat service can be found on the Web site for Technology Resources at help.tcu.edu, Pennington said. Once on the Web site, students only need to click on the chat link, enter a name and e-mail address and they are ready to chat, she said.
“This is just another format we think students might like – another way to communicate with them,” Pennington said.
Students seeking assistance chat with student workers called ResNet techs, Pennington said. ResNet techs mainly help with navigating the Web site, answering how-to questions and other queries regarding wired and wireless connectivity, she said.
Pennington said she is not sure if all students are aware of the system. An e-mail was sent to students, but it is the kind of program that may take time for students to need, she said.
“Basically, if everything is working, they don’t need it,” Pennington said. “We expect it would get heavier usage at the beginning of a semester.”
Right now the system is for students only, but Technology Resources plans to open it up to faculty, alumni, parents, prospective students and guests at a later time, Pennington said.
Customer service hopes that the new chat feature will be a more effective and convenient way to get assistance that students can enjoy, Pennington said.
“Sometimes people may not want to wait on the phone for help,” Pennington said. “But while they are browsing the Internet, they don’t mind waiting for a chat session to start.”
The chat feature is available from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. It is also available on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m.