Why context is key for Behavioral Intelligence

Kelly Hughes
Kelly Hughes

October 19, 2021

The path to achieving a goal is not always linear. Sometimes we lose focus, need time to reflect, or come across obstacles that make it hard to move forward. We could all use a little nudge toward the next step from time to time. It’s especially helpful if that nudge considers the factors that may be impacting your life at the moment. That’s where contextual relevance (CQ) comes in.

CQ is the critical component of Behavioral Intelligence that uses contextually relevant messages to provide real-time support that empowers students and employees to take the next step in their journey. CQ is not just about answering a question correctly. It’s about building relationships that matter by giving people the thoughtful messages they need at the right moment to help them achieve their goals. Doing that well requires a blend of accurate information, empathetic tone, and careful consideration of the context in which the audience receives the message.

What is CQ?

CQ goes beyond traditional question-and-answer support by taking the user’s unique circumstances into account and providing them with the personalized support they need — right when they need it. Mainstay’s Behavioral Intelligence approach uses CQ to help students and employees make smart decisions that propel them forward in life explaining the best next step, why they should take it, and what they need to know to do so.

How context shapes conversations

There are countless factors that can influence whether or not people achieve the goals they set for themselves. Businesses and colleges can play an active role in their employees’ and students’ success, though. By inspiring the people you champion at key points along their journey, you can help them take essential steps toward their objectives. This can be as simple as providing a sympathetic ear, sending encouraging messages, and offering personalized support for life’s big moments. The Mainstay Engagement Platform enables you to anticipate their individual needs and respond at scale in a way that drives action and engagement across a wide range of topics. 

For example, universities can use CQ to build greater trust and affinity by sending check-in text messages to find out how students are feeling about the upcoming semester. Then, aggregate insights from those conversations can inform the way you follow up to support students who are struggling in specific ways. Colleges can also use CQ to foster a culture of belonging and overall wellbeing and cultivate an environment that prioritizes inclusion — a key indicator of meaningful student engagement.

CQ can help employers build meaningful relationships with new employees, too — even before they even start working at your company. By recognizing and addressing the unique context of where your employees are in their journey, you can make a positive impact on their ability to achieve their goals. For example the time period between when a candidate accepts a job offer and their start date is often when new hires are most engaged and have the most questions. However, many businesses fail to communicate effectively during this time. By infusing CQ into your employee communication strategy, you can reduce ghosting during the preboarding process

CQ in action

We’ve all experienced personalized touchpoints designed to drive a specific behavior — from the ads we see on Facebook to Amazon’s recommended products. While this type of contextual relevance is sometimes useful, it’s often downright creepy and doesn’t help cultivate authentic, two-way relationships. 

When combined with intelligence and empathy, CQ empowers businesses and schools to connect with people in more honest and meaningful ways during pivotal moments. Let’s explore how some of Mainstay’s partners use CQ to provide personalized, relevant support to the people they serve. 

California State University Channel Islands uses Mainstay’s Engagement Platform to crowdsource and share custom Spotify playlists that help students feel connected to their peers and their college — even when they aren’t on campus. The team has found that jokes, videos, and GIFS go a long way in connecting with students on a personal level. 

Like many schools, Austin Peay State University, a public university in Tennessee, found it challenging to gauge which students were planning on enrolling for the upcoming fall semester. They partnered with Mainstay to launch a chatbot that would deliver a series of interactive SMS text surveys asking students about their intent to enroll. These texts gave students a safe, judgment-free way to “break up” with the school if they decided not to enroll. In turn, the campaign gave the university an opportunity to follow up and learn why the students made this decision. As a result, the university reduced summer melt by 14% and set a new record for first-year enrollment.

Sometimes the reason a student chooses not to enroll in college can be deeply personal. A behaviorally intelligent chatbot often provides the ideal environment for students to share what’s on their minds, though. That’s why, when sensitive information (such as mental health concerns) emerges, the conversations are automatically routed to trained experts who provide one-on-one support in real-time. 

By delivering highly relevant, authentic support at crucial times, Wayne State University is fostering a culture of belonging for all. Behavioral Intelligence makes this possible by using contextual relevance to spark conversations that will have the greatest possible positive impact on students. For example, students who work full time while attending school may receive a message about financial aid that’s phrased differently than a similar message to students who don’t work. A year after the university shifted to a student engagement strategy powered by Behavioral Intelligence, they welcomed the largest incoming class in the university’s history. 

Many of our partner institutions use behaviorally intelligent chatbots to proactively check in with their students during tumultuous times when external factors hit close to home. Some examples include active shootings scenarios on campus, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the events at the U.S. Capitol in January of 2021. By recognizing the weight of these situations, Mainstay’s partners have been equipped to address the contextual relevance of the moment. CQ is what has enabled them to communicate with their students or employees, understand their needs and concerns, and provide instant, meaningful support.

Unlocking the full scope of Behavioral Intelligence 

CQ uses culture, community, and contextual relevance to bridge the gap between your college or business and the people you champion every day. It’s only one piece of the Behavioral Intelligence puzzle, though. People also need instant, accurate answers to their questions delivered in an empathetic way in real-time. This requires IQ (intelligence) and EQ (empathy) in addition to CQ. 

Read our article, “How Behavioral Intelligence unlocks deeper engagement,” to learn how Mainstay’s holistic approach to engagement helps people to take the next step toward a more fulfilling life — one conversation at a time.

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