The digital revolution is making everyone’s life easier. From ordering your morning coffee to doing your banking, our daily tasks are made simpler by doing them online. You’ve figured out it’s time to bring the same digital efficiencies to how you manage your gymnastics studio.
A well-designed class management software will help you lower costs and increase revenue. That’s a well-designed class management software – not just any software package will do. When you’re looking through your class management solution options, you want to make sure to look for the critical functions and elements that will make the difference to your bottom line and help you create raving fans out of your families.
Here are three feature sets that are necessary for any class management software package if you want to use it to reduce your admin time, improve your customer service, and put you in control of your business’s financial condition.
Financial simplicity and clarity
The class management solution must provide online payment processing. No feature will have a greater positive impact on your cash flow. When comparing different solution’s online payment processing function, look for a solution that gives you epayment processor options, rather than one that requires you use to whatever epayment processor they’ve chosen. Each processor has its own fee arrangement and other terms, and you want to be able to pick the one that works best for your gym.
You also want to make sure that the solution lets you process credit cards and electronic payments as batches, rather than having to do them all individually. This is a major time saver. Parents should be able to store their credit card information in the system, so they can easily set up recurring monthly fees and pay any other outstanding fees, e.g. meet fees, online (more on how easy the solution should make that for parents a bit later).
The most sophisticated class management solutions will let you set up a payment structure based on membership and individual classes. However, your gym probably generates revenue from more than just the classes. So make sure that the class management system you choose comes with point-of-sale functionality that lets you manage inventory, plus process and track product sales. It should also make it easy to apply discounts and run promotions both on service and product fees.
These are the day-to-day financial functions you need. However, the most valuable studio management software will also provide you with high-level and detailed visibility into your gym’s finances. This could be a customizable dashboard that graphically presents financial information, such as past due status and year-over-year revenue comparison. A comprehensive dashboard might also include predictive information, such as showing you how class registrations are trending.
You also want an extensive reporting module — one that comes with many pre-built reports but also lets you easily customize your own. These reports are where you’ll find the detailed information that will help you steer your gym.
An online portal that makes parents love your gym
The parents in your community love the digital transformation as much as you do. They want to be able to register for classes, pay balances, and get critical messages from your gymnastics studio online. The class management software you choose absolutely, positively must have a parents’ portal that provides an easy, intuitive user experience. You’ll love it. Your students’ parents will love it. And that will make them love you.
What does an outstanding parents portal include? It must have:
- Online registration. Instead of taking hours of staff effort time collecting their information, entering it into the various spreadsheets where you need the information, parents can go online, register all their kids, with the information going into a single database. You’re not just saving admin time on the front end, but streamlining future actions, such as enrolling their kids in specific classes, and signing up for meets or events because it’s pulling the family information from the same source.
- Online class enrollment. It provides the same benefits as online registration, with the added bonus of automatically keeping your class enrollment and availability lists up-to-date without requiring staff or your time. Parents especially love this because there’s no chance they think they’re enrolling their child in one class, only to find out that class is full, has been canceled, or has been rescheduled.
- Account Status. Let’s parents see – and pay – their current outstanding balance and see their past payment history. They appreciate the convenience and it saves all the calls into the gym from parents looking for this information.
- Easy Online Communications. It should streamline and automate communication. Your software portal is the perfect avenue to push out messages to everyone, specific groups of parents, or even personalized messages to a specific family.
- Works with all devices. Your parents’ portal should be available on desktop and mobile devices regardless of brand or operating system.
Improves staff management and happiness
The right class management software package encompasses more than parent and student management, it helps with staff management. It simplifies your scheduling, significantly reducing the hours you have to spend organizing class and teacher schedules. A system that includes an automated time tracker is also a great time and money saver. The American Payroll Association estimates that manual time tracking bloats a company’s payroll by anywhere from one to seven percent. That’s real money you can get back with automated time tracking.
Your staff should have access to their own portal. One you can set up to provide only the system access you want each individual staff member to have. Perhaps you set up teachers only to be able to view their own schedules and class lists. You may allow other staff members broader access. The point is, as the gym owner, you should be able to set different access levels for different staff members.
Make your class management software your secret weapon
Your class management software should make you feel like you’ve just hired the most efficient and productive office manager ever. It’s your secret weapon that just makes everything run more smoothly for everyone – you, your staff, and your students’ parents. Be sure it includes the right feature set for your gymnastic studio’s needs.