Scranton (March 17, 2014) — Penn Foster, a leader in career-focused online and blended education designed to address the skills gap in America, has been selected as a finalist in ICMI’s Global Contact Center Awards Best Use of an Emerging Channel category, recognized for its groundbreaking online student Community. The ICMI Global Contact Center Awards Program honors and recognizes the companies, contact centers and individuals that provide a platform for leadership, vision, innovation and strategic accomplishments for the industry.
“We are honored to be selected as a finalist for this prestigious, global award,” said Joe Gagnon, Penn Foster President and Chief Operating Officer. “We continually hear from students how the Online Community is an important part of their student experience, providing the support from peers and faculty they need to progress in their studies and achieve their goals. It’s gratifying to see our Community recognized as a game-changing educational resource for our students, while having a significant impact on our business.”
Penn Foster created the online Community for its students as a response to the school’s rapidly growing enrollment and rising cost per interaction between students and Penn Foster’s staff and faculty. At the time, the school’s communication avenues were limited to telephone, email and—to a lesser extent—chat. However, the school’s leaders noticed that students were beginning to turn to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter for answers to questions.
From there, the idea of the “Penn Foster Community” was born.
Initially launched in 2010 as “eCampus,” the site allowed students to connect with peers to share experiences, learn tips and meet with students in their same field of study. In July 2012, Penn Foster upgraded the site to the “Penn Foster Community,” which featured a wider offering of support services, including: a community map for students to find others in their area to connect with, polls, student blogs, organized discussions and groups by area of study, a calendar of events, documents, video links and much more. Then in June 2013, Penn Foster launched a badge/gamification system through Bunchball, a gamification and loyalty app for websites.
A year after implementation, the new Community had 64,622 users—a 200 percent growth. By the end of 2013, emails were reduced by more than 40 percent, and the cost per interaction dropped an average of $1.06 each year since 2010.
The ICMI Global Contact Center Awards program is the most comprehensive awards program dedicated to the customer management industry. For more than 10 years, ICMI, the leading global provider of comprehensive resources for customer management professionals has organized and managed this awards program.
The winner of the ICMI Global Contact Center Award will be announced at ICMI’s Global Call Center Awards Dinner and Ceremony on Wednesday, May 7, 2014.
About Penn Foster
Founded in 1890, Penn Foster has been a leader in career-focused distance and blended learning for more than 100 years. Since its inception, more than 13 million people have enrolled in its high school, career school and college to learn advanced skills, further their education and better position them for life success. Today, Penn Foster graduates 25,000 students yearly and enrolls more than 100,000 new students each year in programs designed to address the skills gap in middle skilled careers. Penn Foster's high-quality, affordable distance education allows students the flexibility to complete programs around their schedules with 24/7 access to a supportive online community of students and faculty. For more information, visit www. pennfoster.edu.