5 Ways to Cut Your Swim School Admin Time in Half

One of the biggest challenges with managing or owning a swim school is the sheer amount of admin time.

Often the workload is so overwhelming that work creeps into the nights and weekends of the business owner.

One solution for this problem is to hire additional administrative staff to help spread the work however this can bloat costs and significantly reduce profit margins.

Often these time-consuming admin tasks take so much time that it leaves little time left to focus on more productive strategic work that helps drive growth and profitability.

In this article, we explore how to cut swim school admin time in half by using a customer portal to automate time-consuming and recurring tasks.

5 ways to cut your swim school admin time in half

A few years ago, I was visiting a swim school that had a substantial student base. They explained that their phone would ring from morning to night with customers making requests. Customers would call to book a makeup lesson or request to move their child’s lesson time. Each day they would have up to 50 phone calls each taking several minutes.

But it didn’t stop there, the customer also had an email that would quickly fill up each day with similar requests. For each request, they would need to read the email, act on the request, and then email the customer back to confirm their request had been actioned.

This swim school had employed a full-time extra admin person to handle these phone calls and emails and added over $50,000 per year to their overheads.

This was on top of the other reception staff they had they would also take in-person enquiries when lessons were taking place in the mornings and evenings.

The best way to reduce the admin time of your swim school is to hand over more responsibility to the customer.

By leveraging technology in the form of a customer portal, a swim school can slash hours and hours from their weekly administrative load and cut thousands of dollars from their monthly overheads.

An innovative class management software for swim schools that includes an online customer portal or app can help dramatically reduce time-consuming admin tasks.

5 ways to reduce admin time with a swim school online customer portal

1. Allow customers to move lesson day, time, or next levels via the customer portal

One of the most time-consuming tasks for a swim school is handling customers wanting to move the day and time of their lesson.

Often things change, a new sporting seasons start, or a student starts a music lesson, all these events can cause a customer to need to change their lesson time or day.

When this process needs to be done via your reception or admin staff this can create a significant
admin burden.

By enabling this process via a customer portal, the customer can log in, view available times, and confirm the day and time they would like to switch their lesson to.

Modern swim school software such as First Class Software can allow customers to manage this process themselves via a user-friendly interface.

2. Allow customer to cancel their lessons via the customer portal

From time to time customers wish to cancel their lessons.

Perhaps their child does a different sport during the winter, and they wish to cancel during the winter months.

If the customer needs to contact your admin’s staff in person, via telephone, or via email, this requires time and effort on your staff to process the cancellation.

Allowing customers to cancel via their customer portal can give this responsibility to the customer.

The only downside of this approach is it perhaps removes the opportunity for the staff member to talk the customer out of cancellation.

3. Allow customers to book make-up lessons via the customer portal

If your swim school offers, make-up lessons then this is often a massive cause of additional admin.

Allowing customers to book their make-up lessons via a customer portal can save hours and hours of admin time each month.

The key to online make-up lessons is the ability to have strict rules.

An online swim school software like First Class software allows you to establish tight parameters around booking make-up lessons and the allocation of make-up lesson tokens.

For example, the customer must provide absence notification via their portal within a specific time frame in order to receive a valid make-up token. You can also set rules around how many make-up tokens a customer can receive in any specific time period.

4. Allow customers to pay online via credit or debit card or direct debit

Often swim schools make life hard for themselves by overcomplicating processes.

Simplification is king.

Recently I was speaking with a swim school owner who allowed a range of flexible payment options. They would take cash, bank transfers, EFTPOS, and online payments as forms of payment from their customers.

To make matters worse, they would take a deposit from customers at the start of each term and also accept partial payments which were left up to the customer to manage.

This complicated approach made their lives harder than they needed to be because they would have to manually reconcile a bunch of payments which were often hard to confirm which payment belonged to which customer.

They would also spend a huge amount of time following up with customers who had not paid.
By simplifying payment processes via a customer portal, you can reduce the admin burden significantly.

Options such as online credit/debit card payments allow customers to conveniently pay their lesson fees in full via their customer portal.

The best part of this approach is that these payments automatically reconcile in your swim school software so there is lesson admin work.

Another great option to consider is direct debit which automatically takes the customer payment on a monthly or fortnightly basis and can reduce the hassle of following up customers who have not paid.

5. Provide progress reports via the customer portal.

Finally, another time-consuming task is providing customers with feedback about their child’s progress.

Parents crave feedback about their child’s progress.

Yet, many swim schools are not giving them updates about their children’s progress because it simply takes too long.

Having verbal or email conversations with customers about progress does not scale well.

By leveraging a good software system with an online customer portal, you can make the process of giving customers feedback much more time efficient.

By using First Class Software, swim schools can input assessment grading results into the class view of the software using a tablet or smartphone. The assessor can then trigger an email or notification to go to the parent which prompts them to the fact that their child has been assessed.

This information is updated in real-time on the customer portal which the parent can see.

The key here is to provide parents with enough detail to show progression. Using a grading system that uses descriptive wording can provide parents with a clearer picture of the progress of their child.

For example, if a child has been at the same level for a long time the parent may be starting to get frustrated by a lack of progress which can increase their likelihood of cancellation.

However, if you use descriptive words in your grading such as introduced, improving, consolidating, and competent, this will help provide the parent with more context.

If a skill has moved from introduced to consolidating the student may not yet have mastered that skill but it is clear they have made significant progress.

This is critical information to share with parents.

By leveraging the right software and a customer portal, swim schools can make sharing this level of information much more scalable.

By leveraging technology in the form of a customer portal, swim schools can cut admin time and costs in half. In many cases, the outlay of ongoing costs of a good swim school software can provide a 10 to 1 return on investment when time and cost savings are considered.

If your swim school is using dated software and would like to cut your admin time in half take a moment to explore First Class Software.