Scranton, Pennsylvania ( May 9, 2014 ) — Penn Foster, a leader in career-focused online and blended education designed to address the skills gap in America, has won 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.
“Recognition for all of Penn Foster’s programs and initiatives on a global scale motivates us to continuously strive for innovation and excellence in the education field,” said Mark Slayton, Vice President of Customer Relations Management. “Since its launch, the Penn Foster Community has evolved into an important fixture for both students and staff. It’s rewarding that a program such as this has been recognized for being the game-changing educational tool that it is.”
“Winning this prestigious, global award is an honor,” said Slayton. “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, prompting the school’s leaders to consider the popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter as go-to sources of information among students.
From there, the idea of “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 to meet with students in their same field of study. In July 2012, Penn Foster upgraded the site to “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. It is designed to honor and recognize the companies, contact centers and individuals that provide a platform for leadership, vision, innovation and strategic accomplishments for the 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.
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.