Whether in the non-profit business world, educational classes, youth camps, conferences or anything that demands a client onboarding process, your profit is important. That’s why you want to find ways to generate more income but without changing everything you do. Additional income is what allows you to offer better programming, more value to your clients and basically allows you to focus on your organizations ‘mission’ and not on just surviving.
In this post I want to show how one simple step – selecting the correct online registration software(which is basically the sales engine for your organization) – will boost your income with very little effort on your end.
There is nothing new in saying that “Software has taken over the world”. Nearly every action you do (besides eating and sleeping) is somehow connected to a software you use. In business all the more so. Software has also changed a lot of our perceptions regarding value. Organizations today setup Gmail accounts for everything in their organization at less than a tenth of the cost such an action demanded 5 years ago (if your organization is still using Microsoft Exchange it is really time to move!).
This obviously brings up the question: Is the old saying “You get what you pay for” true for software today? Do you really need to spend a fortune and steer clear of cheaper systems to get what you need? Unfortunately, many small and medium sized businesses think this is true and either spend way too much money on a system they really don’t need or worse, spend no money and just put up with what they have to the detriment of their business and their bottom line.
Spoiler alert: I am going to show you that it is possible to get what you need in a system without breaking the bank. The challenge is how do you wade through all the affordable options and decide which system will work best for your organization and allow you to truly get the most for every dollar.
Start focusing on cost and not on price
The first thing you need to do is stop thinking about “price” and start thinking only about cost. The price is the actual money to pay for the software you are going to use. This can be a monthly price you pay or a one time price (which is never really one time) you pay in order to get the software (I wrote a post comparing 3 common pricing models for software here). The cost obviously includes the price but frankly it is the most insignificant part of it (this is mainly correct if you are selecting one of the new “software as a service” software’s or SAAS out there). The cost includes:
- The price you pay for the online registration software
- The time you invest to get it up and running
- The effects it has on your conversion rate (how many people complete the process)
- The effect it has on your cash flow (how many people pay on time)
- The effect it has on your productivity
- The effect it has on the time it takes you to onboard a new client
- And last but may be the most important – the effect it has on your client satisfaction.
So as you can see, price is there but it accounts to very little.
When evaluating cost as opposed to price suddenly things look very different. It could be that a totally free system actually costs you more than a system that you pay a one time fee of a few thousand dollars for or a system you pay for monthly. It’s possible then that one system can cost less for business A than for business B. That is why you need to assess the various factors for your business and that can be done only when you look at the true cost of a system and not just it’s price. (I this post I outline why and how you should pay for a registration software.)
Now let’s take a closer look at the cost of your system based on the amount of new business and/or increase in revenue from current clients that the software will generate for you. I’ll also go over how to calculate the cost for YOUR business. Exciting right?!
Little details to look for when you want to increase your income (who doesn’t?).
The price of a system is fixed, but the ‘cost’ is in the details. Different software’s give you the capability to work differently. Many of Regpack’s clients have seen an increase in their profits because moving online has allowed them to communicate more efficiently and effectively with applicants, get paid on time and therefore, get paid faster. It has also helped them get organized so they don’t miss out on collecting money when they need to.
Here are just a few examples on how the correct system can boost your income:
- Implementing payment plans that allow an online registration software to automatically charge the clients according to their order and the plan they are eligible to will make sure you can plan your cash flow without constantly contacting your clients for payment.
- Enabling the system to embed into your website will lower your abandon rate by 27% (yep, that is the actual number our stats have shown) which is a major income creator.
- Short application processes that are tailored to the client’s specific situation will lower your drop rate by 32% (again, a real number based on stats we have gathered). If clients are so bogged down by your long application or confusing flow they will abandon it half completed, never to return (and sadly never to make a payment).
- Lowering your support emails and phones by deciding on a system that is intuitive, gives constant information to the client and makes sure they go through a flow that is made for them can lower your expenses by a full employee salary (This can free up to 20 hours a week which will translate to you and your staff focusing on other areas that can generate even more income!).
All this is to show that cost is what you need to look at and not price! If you are interested in diving in a little more on that, I have written a very detailed post about cost vs price that might interest you.
There is nothing like a real life example to highlight this. I would like to bring an example from one of our clients to explain how selecting the correct modules and features in your registration process boosted their income. At Regpack your project manager will suggest what will help you out the most, just FYI 🙂
A real Regpack client example
In this client spotlight about St. Helen Parish Community who has has been a Regpack client for the last 2 years Mike explains how they worked before and after using Regpack and outlines the results. Before using Regpack the Mike’s team mainly used paper applications and were constantly looking for the right online solution for them. After trying many solutions out there they decided to give Regpack a try.
The results are nothing short of amazing! Click the link above to read it in full. If you do not feel like reading through it I will summarize it for you: Before using the right online registration software they had years of missed payments, confused admins and participants and just a generally chaotic registration process. They knew they were losing money because their current system did not allow them to catch non payments or paid in full status. Their admins spent way too much time trying to input all the data they received on paper applications and manually creating payment and order reports. Furthermore, they claimed half of the day was spent on communicating with clients explaining what they still have left to do in the process, updating them on their balances, or just trying to get them to send over a check. Most of this communication was on the phone which demanded them to constantly add more staff.
By selecting the online registration process that met their needs, all these problems went away. They knew they needed a process that would:
- Make sure every person is presented with the questions that apply only to them.
- Make sure the programs offered to them are correct for their age group and specific situation.
- Make sure that the system prompted them to make a payment as part of the process and send email reminders when they had an outstanding balance.
- And finally, made the creation of reports and communication as easy as clicking on a link or two with their mouse.
What is great about St. Helen Parish community is that they know exactly what they needed to become more productive and increase their income. If you are not at the stage yet, read this post that will outline how to get a list of the important things for your organization or community.
Now the free time they have is used to market their programs, improve the quality of their programming and spend more time in meaningful communication and engagement with their participants. All of this of course, netted more first time clients, ensured current clients would return because of positive experiences and their programs improved because of the more time and attention to detail their staff was able to give to them.
One little change (selecting the correct online registration software) and so many improvements!!!
Do the math!
Here’s a great exercise to evaluate for YOUR organization how a registration software can increase your profits…
Make a list of all of the tasks you would like to do but aren’t doing because of time restraints that you believe will make a positive impact on your programs and assign a value to them. Perhaps you could offer another program (in another time slot, or for another session, whatever makes sense for your organization) but you haven’t had the time or don’t have the manpower to manage that. How much revenue would this bring in IF you were able to put it together and run? Now compare that to the cost of an online registration software.
How much are you paying for a support staff? Could you move someone from support to program development by switching to an automated registration software? If so, compare the costs.
While at first it seems like the price of a registration system is just another expense and not giving anything in return, the benefits in general far outweigh the price of the system, and effectively make the cost of the system much more attractive once you factor in what the efficiency of a system can offer you.
Communication is everything
This is at the crux of how an online registration software can help your business and increase profits. It gives an all around boost to the professional aspect of your organization. Streamlined and automated messaging and emails as well as hassle free billing and invoicing, an easy to understand and easy to use system and payment site. Presenting a well functioning and easy to understand process online to your applicants is professional and will help you retain more business.
I’ve written about this topic in more depth, and it’s worth reading the following links to really understand how communication is key to your marketing, business plan and general customer service and customer satisfaction goals.
- An Online Registration Process IS a Method of Communication
- Ineffective Communication
- Communication: It’s not just sending messages, it’s everything you do!
- Regpack’s “How-To” Email Series
- 2 Easy Ways to Personalize Bulk Email
- 3 Ways Automated Registration Improves Client Relations
- Automated Registration and 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Doing It
I won’t lie…it can take time and much thoughtful consideration to ‘do the math’ and come up with the true cost of managing registration with your current method in order to compare it to the cost of an online system. In my opinion, an online registration software is ALWAYS worth it (but I have done the math more than a million times so I am biased so do the math yourself), it’s finding the right price for your organization that’s the tough part.
In addition to the tips I suggest above, I also suggest making a list of the features you love most and that work well with the current system you are using and then a ‘wishlist’ of features you’d love to have that you believe would help you improve your admin workflow and your organization in general. Now prioritize them and hone in on software options that offer these features.
Once you’ve done this, the pool of systems will be significantly smaller and you can look at the price of those systems and weigh them against the costs you’ve already calculated. It’s hard work at first, but it quite literally pays off if you’re willing to put in a little effort in the beginning. I have not met one organization that has regretted switching to a ‘perfect match’ software nor have I met an organization that has said, “wow the price of this system isn’t worth it.” Truly defining what you need and want in a system and then finding that system at the price that’s right for you will only improve your business and your peace of mind!