Imagine for a moment that you’ve found a great looking class —maybe it’s an essential piece of professional development training you’ve been waiting to take or perhaps it’s an improv class. You’ve seen it in the class catalog, and you’re about to register and just as you begin you discover —oh no! It’s already full. What now?
What Does Happen Now?
What happens next is an integral part of your registration process, and it’s universal. No matter what kind of program you’re running, your customer’s experience when their chosen class is sold out shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Orono, ME, February 12, 2020: Maine technology company CourseStorm announced a partnership agreement with leading ticketing, fundraising, and marketing solution for the arts, PatronManager, a Patron Technology product. The partnership will enable PatronManager clients to register students for classes and workshops with CourseStorm while automatically bringing in customer data to PatronManager with a planned integration.
Syncing contact and registration information from CourseStorm’s streamlined class registration system into PatronManager will provide a more detailed picture of an organization’s supporters, helping create stronger, more profitable relationships for programs in the arts.
As members of CourseStorm’s Product Team, we’re always looking forward to what we can build next to make managing registrations even simpler and make our user experience even better for programs around the country. But it’s also important to take a minute and look back at what we’ve been able to accomplish thanks to feedback and input from CourseStorm users!
Here’s a recap of some of the top updates we released in 2019.
Do I really need a refund policy?
Well-written refund policies are vital for any business providing services to the public. A refund policy establishes expectations for both your business and customers and can protect you from potential financial losses and liability. Your policy lets registrants know what to expect should they need to cancel a registration. A signed or virtually acknowledged refund policy is also one of the best tools you can use to win a disputed credit card purchase known as a “chargeback.”
If you don’t have a refund policy now, it’s worth the time to create one, and it’s not a difficult process and it can have a serious, positive impact on your bottom line.
AUGUSTA, ME: Governor Janet Mills recognized four Maine businesses as recipients of the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence during a ceremony at the Blaine House in Augusta on December 18, 2019, joined by Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Heather Johnson.
Maine technology company CourseStorm received the Innovation Award, which celebrates and recognizes business excellence through entrepreneurship and innovation. The 2019 award seeks to celebrate and highlight elements of the State’s ten-year strategic economic plan, with four new award recipient categories. Other businesses recognized were Rwanda Bean with the Welcome Home Award, Luke’s Lobster with the Heritage Industry Award, and Bigelow Brewing Company with the Rural Revitalization Award.
“We are very grateful to be recognized,” commented Cofounder and CEO Brian Rahill. “We’re excited to be helping with the State’s economic plan in a couple of ways. We are creating high-skilled jobs as we build our own great team, and we’re helping people continue to train and retrain for new work by connecting them to continuing lifelong learning here and all across the US. We started this idea in Maine and are proud that CourseStorm is connecting people to critical educational opportunities across the entire nation.”
CourseStorm helped Manchester Community College’s Workforce Development and Community Education program achieve a substantial increase in the number of enrollments through a streamlined, easy-to-use registration experience.
Manchester Community College (MCC) located in Manchester, NH has a finely tuned program focused on workforce development. Their learning community includes those looking to gain skills, pursue career advancement, or maintain professional certifications. These opportunities are key for their mixed audience of rural and urban students.
Think Like a Student
Almost everyone has gotten, at some time, a class catalog in the mail and experienced it by flipping through, looking at photos, skimming titles, and speed-reading class descriptions until something interesting crosses our path. The tactile nature helps us remember, and we can often recall the organization of the content enough to flip back to something that grabbed our attention.
But what do you do when your catalog is primarily online? How do you keep the same sense of discovery and catch someone’s interest while enabling a streamlined digital experience?
Like a physical catalog, it’s about vision. When you look at a class catalog through the eyes of your students, what do you see?
Do you see visions of your future? The refinished table in the middle of your kitchen? Presenting gourmet cupcakes at the next family event? Successfully reading an English language newspaper? Starting a new career thanks to a welding certification? Entertaining everyone you know with ukulele singalongs?
Fortunately, it’s not difficult to create an online catalog that helps your students find what they want —and be inspired to find something new as well!
What Do I Do With Feedback Data? Analysis and Action.
This article is the fifth (and final) in our feedback series. In our first, we talked about how feedback can help improve your program in, “Why Your Program Can Benefit from Feedback (and How to Get It).” See also, “Where Does Feedback Come From?” , “What, How, and Whom Do I Ask“, and “Let’s Talk Tools.”
Now that you’ve gotten feedback, what to do with it?
First, let’s talk about something that makes a lot of people nervous when dealing with this step. “What if I find out something awful?” That’s a possibility, but what you don’t know may hurt your class enrollment, so do not let it be something that stands in the way of your improvement! The information you get, positive or negative, will be helpful. If reviewing the data begins to feel stressful, you may want to call in some backup. (Or you can take a break and read this great article from Inc. reminding you why, no, really, this is important and helpful and good for your program!)
Data analysis can be an intense and deep subject, but it’s not necessary to overdo it to understand your results. You need only enough to organize, analyze, share, and act.
You’re in the home stretch!
What Tools Are Available for Getting and Managing Feedback?
This article is the fourth in our feedback series. In our first, we talked about how feedback can help improve your program in, “Why Your Program Can Benefit from Feedback (and How to Get It).” In our second, we covered “Where Does Feedback Come From?” And we covered “What, How, and Whom Do I Ask” in our last article.)
As we’ve discussed, there are many formats for gathering feedback, and plenty of goals to set. Whether you’re receiving program suggestions to increase class enrollment or looking for details about creating a great class registration process, there are tools available to help.
Having and using appropriate tools will help keep your process organized and give you better data. Many of them are available for free or at a low cost to help you create, manage, and will even report the results of your questionnaires or interviews. We’ll cover tools for questionnaires and tools for in-person use, for both individuals and focus groups.
It’s an all-too-familiar story: you are offering a great class. The instructor is excellent. The material is solid, interesting, and useful. You’ve set it all up perfectly…but the class enrollment is still low.
It doesn’t matter what you’re offering, whether welding or watercolors, and a low turnout can be a stressful experience for anyone running an education program.
There are some tried-and-true ways to help maximize your outreach to get those classes full enough to run, and we’re sharing our own great eight with you.
Here are a few ways to boost your class registrations so you can run that class!