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How many hours a week do you spend manually managing your class bookings?
If you have to grab your calculator to work out the number, then it’s probably too many.
Most class-based businesses would say that scheduling is one of their most important everyday tasks, as without it, their lessons would cease and the business would collapse. And while that’s certainly true, it doesn’t have to be a drain on your manual resources.
Here are 6 tips on how to use a class scheduling system to help you organise your bookings more efficiently:
1. Create your timetable
The logical place to start when it comes to scheduling your courses is with your timetable where you can map out your classes for each term or month. Include relevant information pertaining to each class, such as:
Start date (and end date if needed)
Whether it’s a single or recurring class
Day of the week (or days if the class will run multiple times a week)
Start time and duration
Resources (such as a studio for dance or lane for swimming)
If you’re currently doing this on a spreadsheet, you’re probably spending way more time planning your classes than running them. Although you can create your timetable manually, it’s much more efficient and accurate to use a course scheduling system that streamlines all your classes and presents them in a colour-coded calendar. Once your classes are in, you can then book students in, assign teachers, add course information and make any edits.
2. Give your customers more control
One of the best ways to significantly reduce the hours you spend making, cancelling and moving bookings is to let your customers do it themselves. Not only will this cut down your manual admin, it will also improve customer satisfaction as they’ll be able to manage their bookings without having to call, email, or queue at reception.
You can achieve this with a customer portal that syncs with your class booking software - as well as the ability to update bookings, customers will also be able to add family members to their account, update their details and view their child’s progress.
Udio’s customer portal has more than 196,000 active users and saves operators hours in admin - within a week of implementing, one Udio client welcomed 209 online bookings while another saw 453 bookings made via the portal.
3. Integrate with a payment gateway to facilitate online payments
Once you set up the customer portal, you can streamline the booking process even more by giving customers the option to pay online. This not only reduces your fee handling but also helps you to better manage outstanding payments as everything is accurately tracked in your class booking system.
4. Add a book now button to your website and Facebook page
Make it easy for customers to book a class by including a ‘Book Now’ button in prominent places across your website and on your Facebook page. This is particularly beneficial for new customers as minimising the friction in their booking journey will increase your likelihood of converting them into a customer.
5. Set up automated booking confirmation emails
Another time-consuming task associated with scheduling is responding to queries or having to relay the same information to multiple customers. Example questions might include:
What do I need to bring to the lesson?
Can I stay and watch my child do their activity?
My child can’t attend today - how do I book a make up?
How can I track my child’s progress?
Instead of answering these questions on an individual basis, consider a course scheduling system that offers an inbuilt email platform - that way, you can write a welcome email answering your most commonly asked questions that automatically triggers when the customer makes a new course booking.
You could also set email triggers for late payments, missed bookings and completed achievements to trim admin time even more.
6. Run reports to determine which classes are performing best
If you’re planning your schedule for a new month or term, look back through your attendance and occupancy records to review each class's performance. If, for example, one is at 100% occupancy and you have people on the waiting list, you could add in an extra class to satisfy demand. On the other hand, if a class has low attendance, consider reaching out to those customers to see if they would prefer a different date or time.
Investing in school scheduling software like Udio frees up your time so you can spend it focusing on other areas of your business, such as running extra lessons or chatting to customers to build long-term loyalty. They are often low-cost subscription models that generate a high return when implemented correctly.
Book in for your free discovery call to see if Udio's class scheduling system could be the right fit for your business.