Work hours adjust to personal life
I was prompted to make this publication by an article describing a client experience with an online school. The author wonders why, with the current level of automation that has permeated all areas of business, online schools still don’t have online appointment scheduling!
The problems for online schools are caused by the current trends in life related to the internet, the globalization of business, working in multiple time zones, Covid restrictions, online working from home and the desire to work at a time that is comfortable for oneself. Whereas personal life used to adjust to fixed office hours, work hours are now adjusting to personal life and are personal in nature.
And what does this mean for business? How can you provide quality service to clients if employees work according to individual schedules, and in different time zones? And if there are many employees and several employees are involved in providing services to the same client, how to plan the work of the entire company, how to calculate the possibility to provide the service at the time specified by the client, ensuring a good quality of service?
Classic online appointment scheduling tools are not suited to online school
Manual work scheduling in such an environment is complex and time-consuming, increasing the company’s overheads and creating additional inconvenience in the employees’ work. This is precisely the situation online schools find themselves in, employing trainers who usually work under individual schedules and, at times, on days off from other jobs.
The classic online appointment scheduling systems are designed for the requirements of offline business and do not have enough functionality to take into account the peculiarities of online schools. Moreover, organizing an online appointment with manual scheduling and staff coordination is beyond the possibilities of most schools. Therefore, it is difficult to find an online school in which the client can choose the time available for the lesson independently.
Low sales funnel conversion is a sign of insufficient automation
Discussing with the owners of online schools the issues of business process automation, one often hears about the low conversion rate of the sales funnel and the highly competitive environment leading to low profitability of the business. At the same time, an online school spends a lot of effort to solve its immediate problems (finding an tutors, launching a marketing campaign, calling customers, assigning requests, etc.) and no longer has the ability to take care of the convenience of its clients, which naturally causes a large outflow of leads received from advertising and to their low conversion into clients. According to research, more than 70% of respondents did not want to continue their paid classes due to the difficulty of finding a convenient time for a free lesson. Potential clients were lost due to the lack of an online appointment for an available lesson time!
Considering that classic online appointment scheduling systems are not suitable for automating online school processes, general-purpose software tools are used that do help automate internal work processes (e.g. Google spreadsheets, Google forms, Google calendar, Calendly). But these tools don’t automate client interactions conveniently, which leads to a high percentage of client loss. So online schools have to compensate for losses by spending more on marketing and promotion, competing with each other for clients’ attention by continuing to serve without customer-friendly online appointment scheduling software for their classes.
Online schools need an integrated request and schedule management system
To manage an online school, you need software products with new functionality. And the Torrow solution for online schools has such features, enabling you to:
● organize convenient interaction between clients, managers and teachers of the school,
● simplify the search for free time and increase the speed of appointment clients for classes,
● improve the conversion rate of clients,
● eliminate routine tasks,
● reduce costs for maintaining processes,
● control and manage the flow of client requests.
The Torrow solution is based on two management systems: applications and scheduling, which are integrated with each other. In addition, the solution uses elements of artificial intelligence to help address all the needs of online school automation:
1. individually variable timetables for teachers with different options for updating the timetable (independently, via manager, integrate with the calendar),
2. different time zones of students and teachers,
3. involvement of several employees to process of client requests (for example, application manager, tutor, feedback manager, etc.),
4. different strategies for processing applications depending on the number of employees and the scale of business (application queues, automatic or manual assignment of an applicant)
5. priorities for application assignment and balancing the workload of teachers,
6. flexible duration of classes depending on the subject of training,
7. optimal allocation of client requests between available tutors,
8. reminding about the forthcoming classes and confirmation of the participation,
9. calculation and payment for classes,
10. integration with the CRM system.
Even more information can be found on the official website of the solution and appoint a consultation (https://info.torrow.net/en/onlineschool).
The implementation of the Torrow solution can be carried out in stages
While a new online school is free to choose automation tools for its work, it is very difficult to change established work processes in an existing school that already uses some software tools. Moreover, not every online school is ready to change its tools. That’s why the solution for online schools based on Torrow platform can be implemented in stages, gradually improving business processes without huge momentary investments of time and effort. The following sequence of steps can be identified:
1. Gathering customer requests and planning lesson schedules manually;
2. Managing the work of staff based on customer requests;
3. Centralized updating of tutors’ working hours;
4. Online appointment of clients for available hours of classes;
5. Integration of tutors’ working hours into the overall available hours of classes at school.
Depending on the size of the school and the number of staff involved, each stage can be completed in days to weeks. Stages 1, 2 and 3 are already carried out by any online school in one form or another, but sometimes they are not formalized and contain a lot of manual work, which leads to human errors, overlapping classes, conflicts and customer dissatisfaction. Therefore, implementing the Torrow solution at these stages helps to reduce errors in the work, improve the quality of service, and increase control and transparency in the work of the school. Implementing Stage 4 will increase conversion rates in the sales funnel and reduce time spent on interacting with customers. And implementing Stage 5 will not only reduce organization costs, but also provide even more flexible working hours and increase tutor satisfaction.
The classic online appointment schedule and booking solutions developed for offline businesses are not suitable for the automation of an online school. In order to increase sales conversion rates, you need full automation of both your online school’s internal processes as well as your client interaction processes. Torrow online school solution is fully automated and can be implemented in stages, gradually phasing out many other software tools.