How to effectively handle closures and reopenings in your class-based business

4 October 2021

Handle closures and reopenings

If COVID has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. For class and lesson-based businesses, such as gymnastics and swim schools, having the ability to open and close your school at short notice is crucial for both business efficiency and customer service.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes.

Back when snap lockdowns were a regular occurrence, Udio designed a quick and easy way to handle these unexpected roadblocks in just a few clicks. This method can also be used for other types of closures, such as staff sickness, renovations and maintenance, as well as for each reopening.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what to do if you need to temporarily close your facility:

Add closure dates and suspend fee raising

The first thing to do is to disable automatic payments for the duration of your closure. You can then disable any automatic emails relating to missed bookings or outstanding fees (you can easily reactivate these once you reopen).

Next, you need to add closure dates to stop any fees raising from the billing period. Once you have your reopening date, you can delete the dates you are open from which will restore all sessions and bookings. You can then restart the charging process and enable automatic payments in a few quick clicks (don’t worry about having to calculate costs - Udio will raise the pro-rata fee so you don’t have to manually adjust anything).

Cancel your upcoming lessons

To keep everything in your management system accurate, cancel future sessions that are affected by your closure. You will have the option to either add a voucher (also known as a make up/catch-up) or apply a credit to your customer’s account. Your customers can then self-manage their bookings in the customer portal by selecting a make up session or using the credit to book a future lesson.

Like above, you’ll also want to disable automated emails that notify customers of missed lessons.

Send an email to your customer base

Once you’ve completed the steps above, you can send a mass email to your customers letting them know all the important information about your closure.

Include things like:

  • Your planned or anticipated reopening date/time

  • The status of pre-closure bookings (e.g. offering make ups or supplying credits)

  • Billing updates

  • Links to where customers can keep up to date with the latest information (such as your Facebook page or website)

Maintain communication using Udio’s inbuilt email platform where you can add personalisation (such as first name merge tags) and use segmentation filters to reach the right customers.

To ease disruption as much as possible, it’s worth choosing school management software that can handle unforeseen circumstances in just a few clicks. This keeps admin to a minimum and allows you to maintain positive relationships with your customers by being prompt, clear and efficient.

New to Udio? Why not take a tour of the software by booking a free demo.