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Cirrus Clears the Way: How 7 Universities Handled a Surge of 50,000+ Clearing Calls


Every year, through the clearing process, tens of thousands of students scramble to secure a place on a course at one of the hundreds of universities in the UK. 2023 saw 50,000+ students call contact centres to navigate through the clearing process. In these crucial moments, universities and students face significant pressure to make the right choices and secure the best opportunities. The bulk of the demand happens over two days in August, which puts even more pressure on all concerned. Cirrus and its channel partners help the universities implement contact centre solutions that enable operational capabilities to meet the demand. Cirrus supported seven universities in 2023, reflecting an impressive growth from the previous year.


  • 2023 saw the seven universities receive a staggering 50,000+ calls from students trying to secure university places through clearing.
  • Most of these calls, with queries and concerns, were concentrated within a tight 48-hour window.
  • University contact centres aren’t operational year-round and require more infrastructure for such surges.
  • A unique blend of teams comprising students and academic staff tackle these calls. Many of them lack prior experience in contact centre operations.
  • Ensuring efficient call handling becomes essential in helping students secure their desired places.
  • There is also a lot at stake for the universities, given the substantial tuition fees.


Cirrus, with its university clearing expertise, delivered a robust solution:

  • A dedicated team of experts developed a customised workflow, ensuring optimal call management.
  • An intensive 3-4 month period of support and consultancy was provided leading up to the peak clearing days.
  • Collaborative process flow designs were established with customers.
  • Rigorous testing and subsequent refinements were performed to ensure seamless functionality.
  • A preliminary phase in June saw a limited license rollout of voice and digital channels (web chat, IM, DM, social, WhatsApp, etc.). This scaled up, ensuring comprehensive training before the ‘go live’ during the main clearing days in August.
  • A highly responsive ticket resolution service was implemented throughout the peak period.


  • 7 universities benefitted from Cirrus’ support via the two partners, up from 6 in the previous year.
  • A remarkable 51,077 calls were proficiently managed over the critical 2-day span, marking a 158% increase from 2022.
  • 1,142 agent voice and digital licenses were activated across these universities during the main days, indicating a 15% growth year-on-year.
  • Testament to Cirrus’ efficiency: a 50% reduction in issues or tickets raised compared to the prior year.

Wendy Griffiths, Head of Professional Services at Cirrus says:

 “It’s always a challenging time during the university clearing phase, with so many calls and queries coming quickly. Cirrus takes a proactive approach, working with our clients to design meticulous workflows, followed by testing and refinements to ensure the universities have the right solution. The significant increase in calls handled this year and the reduction in tickets raised demonstrates the success we achieved with our channel partners.”