7 Things To Consider Before Choosing Class Management Software For Your Business

Whether you are a swim school or a gymnastics center, choosing a software solution is an important decision.

The wrong software can make your busy schedule even busier by creating additional headaches that require your time and attention.

Many people base their decisions on functionality alone and fail to consider some other very important factors.

We explore the 7 key factors you must consider before investing in class management software.

1. ROI vs Cost

Basing your decision on a software solution around cost can be a big mistake. Not all solutions are created equal. Some help make your life easier, whilst many can create additional headaches and problems to address with your customer base. 
When evaluating class management software it is important to consider the return on investment. Will the solution help you save time, does it have features that allow you to automate time-consuming things like writing certificates or following up on late payments? 
The two biggest areas to consider when evaluating ROI are time savings and customer retention potential. 
If the software solution will help you improve those two areas it will likely help you grow revenues further and provide a positive return on investment.
Software that is $50 a month more than another option may actually provide you with a much higher return on investment in the long run.
That’s why it pays to carefully evaluate and ask the question- will this solution help us retain customers or save time?

2. Online

When considering class management software for your swim school, gymnastic center, or other sports class business it is important to look for options that are hosted online. 
In the early 2000’s most software solutions would be installed on your computer. However, the standard these days is for online Saas (software as a service) solutions. 
Online software provides a number of advantages…
  1. It is typically built on more modern architecture and leads to better functionality and speed
  2. The data is saved and backed up automatically. If you are using a solution installed on your PC your data may not be backed up if your computer suddenly dies
  3. Security – Online software typically has greater levels of security
  4. Updates – Updates are usually deployed automatically after hours making which means one less thing you need to worry about.

3. Reporting and analytics

Another consideration that many people overlook is reporting and analytics.
Many solutions do the basics of scheduling and enrolment well however, basic reporting means you are not able to easily get the information you need to grow your business.
For example, does a solution allow you to measure your attrition rate? Can you compare your attrition rate to the same time last year? What is your occupancy rate?
These are critical insights that you as a business owner need to grow your business.
When evaluating a software solution make sure you carefully explore all of the reporting functionality available.

4. Communication

Communication is arguably the number one thing for a class business such as a swim school. The quality of your communication impacts your customer retention which directly impacts your revenue. 
A good class management software will allow you to easily communicate with your customer.
Here are some things to look for…
  • Does your solution support both email and SMS?
  • Are you easily able to filter your customer/student lists for bulk communications? Eg. By day or level?
  • Is there a good range of automation available- Eg. New student, returning student, canceled student?
  • Are you able to view reporting on open rates, bounce rates, etc?
These are all critical considerations that people miss when evaluating a solution.

5. Feedback

Does the solution you are exploring have strong functionality for assessing students, recording progressing, and providing parents with feedback?
69% of parents are not satisfied with the level of feedback they receive about their child’s progress.
If you want strong customer retention, It is critical that you provide parents with feedback every 90 days.
The assessment and feedback functionality of a lot of class management software leaves a lot to be desired. 
It is important that you look for a solution that makes it easy and time-efficient to provide feedback.
Here are some things to look for
  • The ability to assess and grade students on a single page (saves time)
  • Ability to have flexible grading- eg. descriptive wording
  • A parent portal that is clear and easy for parents to understand
  • The ability to apply additional comments to assessments
  • An app for ease of access for parents

6. Support

Another critical consideration for class management software is support.

  • Does the provider offer support in your time zone?
  • What support channels do they offer? 
Nothing beats being able to speak to a human so we recommend that your look for a provider that offers phone support.
Also look for additional support services like training, migration services as well as online training hubs which can help ensure you get the most value out of your solution.

7. Security

Last but not least is security. This can be harder to evaluate because often it is invisible.
In the current environment, system security is vital. If the provider is hacked, all their customer data will most likely be lost.
This is another reason to avoid very cheap solutions. Having the right security requires a significant amount of resources in terms of not only the right servers but staff and expertise.
If you are paying a low fee for your software it is very likely that you are putting your business at risk.
Here are some questions to ask your supplier.
  1. Where is the data hosted?
  2. What hosting provider do you use? (Look for something like AWS Amazon Web Services)
  3. What technical measures do you put in place to protect data?
  4. What is your privacy policy?
  5. Can you share a copy of your privacy management plan?
If the provider can’t answer these questions it should be a red flag.

By considering these 7 factors as well as the specific functionality you are looking for You give yourself the best possible chance of selecting the right provider for you.

Choosing the wrong provider can result in a lot of extra work if you need to change to another provider after 6 or 12 months so do your homework and choose wisely.

If you are looking for best-of-breed class management software that meets the criteria we have just covered check out First Class Software.

You can watch a short video demo to learn more here.