L.A. admissions use AI to transform dormant leads

Los Angeles entertainment schools turn to an artificial intelligence application to help increase new student engagement from zero percent to 19-22 percent over two years.


Stephanie is a great conversationalist, always willing to follow-up with every student lead and determining a student’s interest in attending the school. What some may not know is that Stephanie isn’t human.

A for-profit college that offers associate and bachelor degrees in entertainment-related majors, The Los Angeles Film School and the Los Angeles Recording School both rely on technology to engage and educate students.

Open since 1999, the schools recently started using technology to more effectively connect with prospective students who might have either selected another institution or not attended film/recording school at all.

The initiative dates back to 2013, when Ben Chaib, vice president of admissions and marketing for both schools, learned about a new application that used artificial intelligence (AI) to generate interest and engagement among prospects. “I went to a leads conference in Las Vegas,” says Chaib, “where I attended a breakout session and heard someone talking about how he used Conversica’s AI technology to generate more engagement in the auto industry. I was fascinated.”

With Conversica’s connection to higher education not immediately evident, Chaib started thinking about how well something other than an auto-responder would be at attracting and connecting with new recruits.

At the time, he says the schools’ engagement rate on this level was zero percent. The fact that school representatives weren’t getting much engagement via the emails that they were sending out helped cement Chaib’s assertion that a new solution was in order.

“Auto-responders are basically just mass, push email marketing pieces. Students just don’t respond well to these efforts,” says Chaib, who, while at the Las Vegas conference, visited Conversica’s booth and asked if he could test out the tool. Los Angeles Film School proceeded to test 10,000 leads that had already been classified as “dormant” (those that were sitting for at least 90 days with zero contacts during that time). “We saw immediate results when we started using the AI tool.”

(Next page: How the AI works; tangible results)