SMU is first IHL to launch AI-Chatbot to better serve its students

28 Feb 2018

Featured photo: From L-R: Lau Kai Cheong (SMU Chief Information Officer), Prof Lily Kong (SMU Provost), Greg Krygsman (Head, Student Services Hub) & Prof Paulin Straughan (Dean of Students) launching the SMU Student Services Hub on 27 February 2018.

Singapore, 27 February 2018 (Tuesday) – The Singapore Management University (SMU) has officially launched its Student Services Hub on 27 February 2018 to better serve the needs of its approximately 10,000 undergraduates and postgraduates.

The Student Services Hub is a convenient one-stop centre that amalgamates student services, from handling student payments, insurance, locker rentals and the like, to addressing student queries on myriad aspects of student life.  Unlike other student centres, SMU’s Student Services Hub has a distinguishing feature - the use of an AI-Chatbot, to address, on a 24/7 basis, more than 1000 frequently asked questions across student areas like academic, admissions, student life, internships, exchanges and career tips.  This use of AI to serve students needs is a first in institutions of higher learning in Singapore.  Annex A contains details on the services offered by Student Services Hub, while Annex B contains details on the Chatbot.

A second distinguishing feature of Student Services Hub is the use of Peer Advisors. Patterned after SMU’s highly successful peer helpers programme where students support other students at risk and the career champions initiative where senior students lend guidance on resume writing and interview tips, the Student Services Hub will be distinguished by its team of student Peer Advisors. Peer Advisors will offer a first level of in-person advice and guidance and be role models of service excellence. They will share their experiences and direct students to the best information source for student enquiries. Our Peer Advisors have gone through both customer service training by professional trainers in the hospitality industry, and product knowledge training by our Student Services Hub team. Annex C contains details on the Peer Advisors Programme.

A third distinguishing feature of Student Services Hub is the bite-sized workshops that it will run.  This “THRIVE programme” will offer short workshops in life skills development and self-management skills to ensure that students build a strong foundation in independent decision-making and effectively adapt to the demands and challenges of university life. Please refer to Annex D for details on the THRIVE programme.

Professor Lily Kong, SMU Provost, said, “SMU’s Student Services Hub (SSH) is unique as it is a hybrid concept – it is a combination of an information, transaction and programming hub, to ensure that our students have a smooth and seamless experience while at SMU.  The SSH takes SMU’s student centricity to the next level.”

Professor Paulin Straughan, Dean of Students, SMU shared that, “SMU is first in the Singapore higher-education space to deploy the use of an AI-Chatbot. “AskSmooSmoo” will be the first line of contact to handle simple frequently asked questions and requests as a new channel of communication. This self-service option for our students will free up staff to handle more complicated and high-value demands when serving the student community.”

Lim Yi Bin, an SMU Peer Advisor and Year 2 student of School of Information Systems, said, “Working at the Student Services Hub has given me the opportunity to interact with people from different Schools and units on campus. I was trained to adapt to the different situations presented during work. In addition, daily administrative duties allowed me to gain greater proficiency in using various work applications, boosting my confidence in these skills."

Toshin Canute Sequeira, an SMU year 3 student of School of Economics, added, “The launch of the Student Services Hub (SSH) is yet another step towards effectively equipping our community for student life and beyond. We've been fortunate to be able to give our input right from the planning stages. By streamlining services and having a unique online presence through a chatbot, SSH will further enhance the SMU student experience while augmenting our curriculum by providing us with the avenue to learn essential life skills through the THRIVE programme." 

More photos can be found on SMU's Facebook.



Last updated on 28 Feb 2018.

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