Reducing costs in higher education by adopting scheduling software
The following business case describes a GMAT tutoring school based in Singapore, China, and India. The Singapore branch employs 3 full-time administrators and more than 12 teachers and has managed 15,000 bookings over the last year with 10to8. Their clients include many graduates applying for US/UK business schools, with thousands of students coming through their doors annually.
The management team identified a number of challenges with their existing arrangements, particularly around appointment management, related to the large numbers of part-time staff, working irregular hours, and the transitory nature of the students, who would often only be clients for a matter of weeks before the GMAT exam. They, therefore, identified these issues:
1. Managing a shared calendar
With many part-time staff, each working irregular hours, and each with different degrees of involvement and access to the system, managing a shared calendar was a big challenge. It was vital to only allow staff with appropriate permissions to have the ability to modify and book appointments. It was also important that, while enforcing access controls, staff should have easy access to their appointments. Each member of staff would also need to keep their irregular hours up-to-date within the system, so that appropriate time slots could be booked by clients and administrators.
2. Projecting a professional image
Given that their clients are applying for top-level business schools in the US and UK, and given the prestige and costs involved, the management team believed it was vital to project a professional corporate image. This would help them generate new business, retain students and encourage referrals by students to similarly minded friends.
3. Actionable Reporting
Given the number of staff and bookings, the management team wanted clear reports and other tools for monitoring the health and performance of the business. Common questions would be to identify the retention rates of customers, the rate of new customer acquisition, and the hours worked by each member of staff to arrange payroll and taxes.
4. Eliminate no-shows
Given the limited number of rooms, and the cost of staff, maintaining a high rate of occupancy and utilization was vital for the business, and while money was often recouped from no-shows, it was not certain. The management team needed a system to maintain a high level of attendance, through the use of emails and SMS that were appropriate, professional and helpful for their clients.
Impact of 10to8
Each teacher is able to manage their own working hours, either on a weekly repeating or irregular basis, depending on their requirements. Many teachers are part-time and manage a calendar with another provider (such as Google Calendar or Apple iCloud). 10to8 allowed them to synchronize the two calendars so that the school can book them at times that are appropriate, without the school seeing all the details of the teachers’ appointments with other employers. This significantly reduced the overheads on the teachers to keep the school informed of their available hours, and improved staff morale.
Reduction in no-shows
The automatic SMS and email notifications of bookings from the calendar resulted in an immediate and permanent reduction in no-shows, without any additional administrative overhead.
Reduction in admin
Thanks to the 360-view of the shared, cloud-based calendar and comprehensive audit logs of all actions by staff and customers, it became possible to see every change, booking, and a message about a booking in a single place. This reduced the administrative overhead of keeping emails, calendars and other systems in sync with each other, and reduced errors in scheduling and other tasks.
The 10to8 data export tools allowed the school to calculate no-show rates across students, services and even individual teachers. It also allowed them to take appointments data and feed this into other HR management systems in order to calculate payroll.
Brandin and professionalism
10to8 offered them the possibility of branding all client-facing parts of the product. This included online booking pages, automatic SMS and email reminders as well as confirmation messages. These were customised to include the branding of the school, message content and tone, reflecting the image that the school wanted to project.
This helped the school generate more business, increase customer loyalty, and maintain prices that reflected their professional appearance.