A look back at some of the ways Mainstay got even better in 2021

Sam DeFlitch

December 17, 2021

We all learned a lot in 2021. We finally perfected sourdough bread. We figured out how to make homemade cranberry sauce (did anyone actually find the canned stuff?), and we learned that, apparently, low-rise jeans are back. Yet culinary and fashion trends aside, it’s safe to say that 2021 was a pretty big year — especially for all of the colleges, universities, and businesses that learned and adapted to new, exciting ways of communicating and engaging with their people. At Mainstay, we had the opportunity to collaborate with hundreds of schools and employers who used our Engagement Platform to spark meaningful conversations.  Along the way, we also learned a lot about our partners and the people they’re helping, and we used that knowledge to make some powerful improvements to our product. 

So, 2021 was a huge year for Mainstay, too — and not just because we changed our name. In this blog, we’re looking back at a few of the many exciting updates we made to our platform — and, most importantly, how these enhancements are empowering our partners to help people take the next step toward a more fulfilling life. 

A little background: How Mainstay’s Engagement platform is supercharging engagement

You’ve got engagement goals. We’ve got a powerful, innovative platform to help you achieve those goals. It’s a match made in a Hallmark Christmas movie. Our Engagement Platform makes it easy for you to have conversations with students and employees at scale, using a very familiar and effective communication channel: Text messaging. Our platform connects schools and businesses with their people via behaviorally intelligent chatbots that instantly answer questions and send empathetic, automated nudges, check-ins, and surveys. 

Supporting people with accurate, empathetic, and relevant information is a sure-fire way to build trust with them. When your students and employees trust you, you can start to build relationships and encourage them to take meaningful actions toward success. Finding ways to encourage people to take those steps might feel daunting, but at Mainstay, that’s our superpower. We’ve cracked the code to building relationships that boost engagement, and we call it Behavioral Intelligence. It’s a method for helping people identify and achieve their goals through the power of conversation — but in order to be truly effective, these conversations need to combine three key elements: Accurate information (IQ), empathy (EQ), and contextual relevance (CQ). 

See, it’s not just what you say that matters — although providing your people with the accurate information they need (IQ) is the foundation of Behavioral Intelligence. How you say it is just as important, and that’s where providing answers, nudges, check-ins, and surveys that are empathetic (EQ) and take context into consideration (CQ) becomes important. When your conversations combine all three elements of Behavioral Intelligence, you have the ability to supercharge engagement and guide students and employees on their journey toward success. Our 2021 innovations, updates, and product releases were all about making it easier to connect with people in these meaningful and impactful ways. 

Powering personalized conversations that encourage meaningful outcomes

Each student and employee is unique, so their interactions with a chatbot should support their individual experiences and journeys. At Mainstay, we know that a single conversation can spark change — especially if that conversation feels tailored to each person. That’s why, in 2021, we rolled out an update that further customizes each interaction with our chatbots. This update (we call it Interactive Responses) provides a more engaging and personalized experience for students and employees by enabling chatbots to ask clarifying questions and respond in contextually relevant ways. For example, a high school student, transfer student, and graduate student all need information about their application status — but this information looks different for each learner. By asking a series of clarifying questions, Mainstay’s behaviorally intelligent chatbots can ultimately respond with the best information for each person’s experience. 

As the bot learns more about each person through these conversational interactions, it’s able to provide increasingly tailored responses, empathetic nudges (a key component of EQ), and timely check-ins. By providing the best response for each situation delivered in a personalized way, the Interactive Responses release ensures your people feel supported along every stage of their journey. 

Streamlining communication to deliver the right information for every student and employee when they need it most

As we continue to create increasingly personalized experiences for students and employees, we’re also improving our partners’ ability to engage more users at scale. So, in 2021, we rolled out an update that’s having a big impact on schools, businesses, and the people they communicate with — we call it Audiences. These dynamic, rule-based groupings of students and employees enable relevant messaging and a personalized experience for your people. 

Not every student or employee needs to receive the same message. New hires definitely need different information than people who have worked at a company for several months or years — and with the Audiences tool, you can further tailor your messages to fit the needs of each group of employees or students. This release is crucial for ensuring your people have access to the information they need, when they need it (IQ). It also enables you to customize your bot’s tone of voice (an important component of EQ) to each grouping. 

Think about it like this: Adult learners may appreciate a more straightforward tone that gives them the information they need in a direct manner, while high school students might relate to conversations that include gifs and emojis. With this new tool, you have the ability to further personalize messages, nudges, and check-ins to the needs and expectations of each group of students or employees — strengthening relationships to the bot and to your organization.  

Connecting with students and employees to build trust, strengthen relationships, and drive positive outcomes

Our chatbots are pretty smart — but sometimes, students and employees just need to interact directly with a human. That’s where the Conversations Inbox enters the picture. This feature of our Engagement Platform enables your team to review and take direct action on incoming messages, and in 2021, we made some pretty impactful updates to make it even more useful. Throughout the year, the updates we made to the Inbox — including the ability to filter and flag messages and pin conversations — empowered our partners to collaborate more effectively and respond to student and employee concerns more efficiently.

Colleges and businesses can now more easily organize incoming messages, assign those messages to the appropriate team member, and in effect, prioritize students or employees who need direct attention. Additionally, teams can now filter by audience and campaign — a huge enhancement that significantly improves the experience of managing the inbox. With the ability to filter conversations by audience and campaign, teams can more quickly and efficiently respond to student and employee concerns — and by flagging messages that require immediate attention, they can prioritize the most important conversations to have right now. Ultimately, these updates make it easier for partners to connect with students and employees who need one-on-one help — which builds their trust for your organization. 

Mainstay: Here for the journey

Thanks for taking a little trip down memory lane with us. We’re pretty proud of the ways these and all of our 2021 updates are helping our partners achieve their engagement goals. Some of those include easy ways to:

  • Call people by their chosen name
  • Create and manage multiple chatbots 
  • Integrate our platform with many more of the tools you already use

As we look back on 2021 and forward to the new year, we’re reminded of how grateful we are for our partners. After all, it’s our relationships with each other that make Mainstay special. We’ve got some pretty exciting developments lined up for 2022, and we can’t wait to share them with you.

If you’re curious about how your school or business can boost employee or student engagement in the new year, request an interactive demo today. We’re excited to share all the ways Mainstay can help you support people — one conversation at a time. 

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Get a guided tour of Mainstay’s Engagement Platform

Mainstay’s Engagement Platform uses Behavioral Intelligence to help businesses build meaningful relationships, optimize insights, and drive action.

Sign up for your personalized demo to find out how Mainstay makes it easy to spark conversations with your employees and guide them toward positive results.

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Instant support — anytime, anywhere

Mainstay’s behaviorally intelligent chatbots make it easy to engage with employees on the channels they prefer to use:

SMS text messaging

Live chat

Web chat

Social media

Let's talk

Get a guided tour of Mainstay’s Engagement Platform

Mainstay’s Engagement Platform uses Behavioral Intelligence to help schools and businesses build meaningful relationships, optimize insights, and drive action.

Sign up for your personalized demo to find out how Mainstay makes it easy to spark conversations with your students or employees and guide them toward positive results.

Channels

Instant support — anytime, anywhere

Mainstay’s behaviorally intelligent chatbots make it easy to engage with students and employees on the channels they prefer to use:

SMS text messaging

Live chat

Web chat

Social media

Let's talk