The user experience for students at CBORD campuses has seen a significant overhaul this year thanks to the company’s new GET CBORD Student mobile app. The re-envisioned app consolidates the disparate GET applications under a single, new user interface that is designed to help students better navigate daily life on campus.
Students can now use the one app to manage their campus account including adding to their balance, purchasing a meal plan, using their phone as a mobile credential, placing food orders, opening doors, and more. There’s also a new campus loyalty function that enables universities to reward their students for making purchases or attending events to increase user engagement.
The app relaunched in September and early reviews have been strong.
“It’s been really well received, and we’re seeing excitement from campuses because it helps them improve the overall students experience,” says Jeff Wood, VP of Marketing and Product at CBORD. “GET CBORD Student offers a way for us to help students navigate campus both physically and virtually by presenting the full range of services through a single, mobile interface.”
Prior to GET CBORD Student, the company required use of separate applications for door access, laundry, vending, and attendance. But that is now a thing of the past.
Aesthetically GET CBORD Student is an improvement that incorporates newer, more modern tones to the applications students used prior to the consolidation.
Previously, students used separate applications to activate laundry, vending, open their door, or check in for class. But now one app covers all of these services.
“We didn’t want this to be completely different user experience, so it’s more of an evolution that will retain some familiar features to previous CBORD applications,” says Wood. “This helps us to provide a seamless transition to the new interface.”
While the app features a more modern look and feel, there will be no changes to the campus’ requirements. “The updated app will be pushed to student devices automatically in the form of a software update,” Wood adds.
The GET platform seamlessly integrates with both CS Gold and Odyssey systems, and the GET CBORD Student platform is a modest add-on subscription for CBORD clients, explains Wood.
“Previously, students had to use separate applications to activate their laundry, vending, open their door, or check in for class,” explains Rob Wakelee, Product Owner for GET CBORD Student. “But now they download one app that covers all of these services.”
Wakelee highlights some of the functions in the GET CBORD Student experience that are also included in the platform.
“The virtual card is an additional credential that lives in the app in the form of a 2D barcode, which can be used in place of swiping your card much like using your phone in place of your boarding pass at the airport,” Wakelee explains. Students can use the virtual credential to make purchases and log attendance in addition to the mobile access integration to enter their dorm room.
GET CBORD Student also supports automated deposits, which gives students the option to set a low-balance threshold so if a balance drops below, say $5.00, students will receive a push notification that their account was credited $25.00 using their stored payment method, for example.
Pivot to the patron
The decision to consolidate the disparate student-facing applications was driven by a larger company strategy that CBORD has coined “pivot to the patron.”
“Pivot to the patron is the company-wide initiative that we first announced in 2017,” says Wood. “It’s about giving students an experience that better matches what they’ve come to expect with regards to mobile applications that they already know from other facets of their lives.”
With GET CBORD Student, the idea was to streamline and otherwise improve the student campus experience. “Students don’t want a separate app to open their door from the app that enables them to make a deposit; this doesn’t translate with them,” Wood says.
Wood also points to an increasingly competitive environment in higher education as a major reason to focus on the student.
“More than ever before, the student experience is a major consideration, as students and their families make decisions on where to go to school,” he says. “In fact, we recently conducted an online focus group composed of campus executives and administrators, and all said that the student experience is a major priority for their university’s decision making.”
GET CBORD Student now also includes a loyalty aspect, which rewards attendance, event access, meal plan usage, and more.
The idea behind the rewards feature is that by promoting positive interactions universities can help to inspire healthy and productive experiences for students on campus. Students can see points accrued in the app and can then redeem those points for rewards offered by their institution.
GET by the numbers:
- GET active users this semester: 600,000
- Total GET CBORD Student institutions: 270
“Rewards is a way for a university to engage its students. Maybe there’s a new food venue opening up, and the campus could help drive traffic to that location by offering double reward points for making a purchase there or triple points if they preorder through the app,” explains Wakelee. “Rewards can also be used to incentivize events like seminars or sporting events where universities could offer additional points for attendance.”
Alternatively, driving student engagement and behavior is another benefit of the rewards function. “Universities can positively reinforce healthy habits to help boost a student’s participation and engagement with activities on campus,” Wakelee adds. “The flexibility of the Rewards function is really up to the university and how they choose to tailor their program.”
There are currently three campuses actively using the Rewards feature today, with additional campuses looking at spring launches.
The future of GCS
While the progress already made with GET CBORD Student is evident, Wakelee and the rest of the GCS team aren’t finished yet.
“Secure messaging for campus housing is one of the planned additions for next year,” says Wakelee. “The concept would apply to things like two-factor authentication for housing inquiries, or digitally signing registration documents.”
Also in the works are more backend architecture changes that will continue to give the app a more modern look and feel. “With the new development system we’re coding in now, it offers us more flexibility to integrate with other CBORD solutions,” Wakelee explains. “Internally we’re breaking down siloes and building additional interfaces, and that will be reflected in future versions of the app.”
For the time being, however, the decision to consolidate disparate applications and services under a single offering is one that simply makes sense in today’s world. “What we’ve done with GET CBORD Student so far really shows the effort and intent that we’re bringing everything into a single, core user experience,” says Wakelee.
That pivot, Wood says, is largely being motivated by generational changes in student behaviors and expectations. “We’re finding that students today are more demanding than ever in terms of the level of transparency and ability to transact in a mobile fashion, and that’s precisely what we’re delivering with the GET CBORD Student app,” he says.
“Historically we’ve been all about making the lives of our campus users easier, and we’ll continue to do that,” Wood adds. “But we’ve really committed to making the end user a priority now, too. And for us, that’s the student.”