We’ve been working with Erin Rushforth at the Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute for a few years and in that time, Erin and her team have seen a 92% increase in teacher training registrations and 14% enrollment increase for their summer programs.
Their growth comes with a reduction in staff, but with an increase in automation via Regpack to help ensure enrollment stayed on track and payments came in.
As a note, the follow statements are transcribed from an interview with Erin, and have been edited for grammar and flow 🙂
Where were you when you were looking for Regpack and why were you looking for a registration system?
I started at Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute as an assistant Director, and I worked with the Director in 2017. She hired me in 2016 when I was there. I worked with her for the 2017 and the 2018 Institute. There was a registration system in place that I didn’t work with at all. That wasn’t part of my role at all, but my perception of it was that it was really clunky. It seemed to be causing more problems than solving them.
So when I took over as the Director, which was for the 2019 Institute, that was really high on my list, to find a registration system that I was going to be able to use and understand. So, I did some online research, and I think I checked out a couple of other systems besides Regpack, and I was nervous about Regpack because it had a higher price than the other things that I was looking at, but it also was going to be delivering a lot more. So I decided that I would take the plunge for a year and see how it goes. There was a big learning curve at the beginning and I was so glad that there was someone that could design the whole system at the beginning, talk to me and ask “what do you want?” “what do you need?” and make adjustments.
Then, it was so great, first of all, to have the registration system and to be able to embed it into our website, then to track all the users and to be able to see how much they’ve paid, to take care of payments and users, and then to be able to send them emails and track all of those. We had previously been a team of three admins and thanks to Regpack, I was able to make it work with me and my assistant director and Regpack. We were the three admins now. So even though Regpack cost more than our previous system by a lot, it actually ended up saving so much time that we were saving money, even though we were paying more for the system from an operations perspective.
Besides the functionality, I really love that there are the Desk Side Chats every week with Connor. So I’m always able to learn. Almost every single time that I attend those, I learn like a little tweak or something that’s going to make our side of things better; and talking to Hector, he gave me some really great ideas for next year that I think are going to be really wonderful. Just because Regpack is always adding more and improving, I love that! I’m pretty committed right now. I am a big fan!
What made Regpack stand out from other systems you considered?
I don’t honestly remember because it’s been several years now, but I think it may have been that there was a trial period. I think I had a call with someone where they really walked me through the different possibilities; because sometimes you see somebody’s best in their advertising, but then when trying to see how that’s going to actually fit and work for you, it’s not always obvious. So being able to have a lot of hand holding at the beginning was probably what convinced me, saying “Oh yes, this is going to help me manage the different types of registrations that we get. It’s okay that everybody isn’t the same. It’s going to allow us to have a parent register both kids at once instead of having to do an entirely separate user for their second child”.
One of the things that I really loved was that you could have discount codes, that people could access. I could have just little things where I felt Regpack was really comprehensive.
Did you change the way you charged people with the Regpack system or did it just facilitate the billing style you already had?
In our previous system, we had to send people invoices so they were able to register with their information, but then we had to go through it and double check it. Then, we would create and send an invoice through PayPal so they would send us money, but a lot of times they weren’t doing that.
So we would have to go through all of our records which were both in the registration system and in PayPal to reconcile that, and then flag people that hadn’t paid. So the first morning of camp, we were tracking down all the people and trying to collect payments from all the people who hadn’t paid.
With Regpack, it was all in one place. We went to all online payments and it was just so much simpler because it was easy to see they’ve made their payments with Regpack. It was easy to set up multiple payments so they didn’t have to pay it all at once.
They could have a payment plan spread for example across the four months from registration until camp. So it was like night and day, it was so much better with Regpack.
Did you have a high adoption of the payment plan and was that something that was really important?
It was really awesome to be able to have that functionality. I don’t think that people had necessarily asked for it, but it was something that I was looking for because I thought it would help people.
I thought it would be useful because, just thinking of myself from a payment perspective; if I know that I can make equal payments across four months versus having to put all the money in one place, I’m not going to register until the last minute when I know I have the money.
If I know I can just make a deposit and then make payments, and that it’s not going to cost me more, I can register early and know that I’ll pay a little every month and it’s going to be fine.
I think it really opened up possibilities for people who hadn’t been able to register before. We definitely had an increase in registration numbers the first year when we offered it.
How do you find using our session products to showcase your offerings?
One more thing that I love about Regpack is that you can schedule the way that you can do sessions and times and people can register for an entire session or they can register for just certain parts of the session; and as an administrator, I get to decide what are the options for that session.
When I first signed up, I was also running a piano competition in Los Angeles and I had kind of another use for Regpack as well; and we set up the registration so that instead of being as it used to be, that people would just register and then I would assign them times that were like seven minutes apart or whatever.
With Regpack, we were able to set it up so that “These are the slots for this grade” and then “These are the time slots available for this grade” and “These are the time slots available for this other grade”. But it saved me so much work because instead of having to finesse 150 students registering for a seven minute slot after they had committed and sent money, it was like “Nope, this is how many slots we have” and “Okay, you sign up for the slot you want and that’s it” and it was great.
How are you using the reporting and how is it important to your workflow?
Reporting is probably a place where I could take a better advantage, but the place that’s most important, I would say, is in the time between registration closing and probably till a month before the camp starts; because that’s where we get to use the reporting to figure out and make our class rosters, and assign students to particular teachers, and that’s where we make our master schedule.
How can other Suzuki programs or any music education program take advantage of Regpack for their programs?
It’s just so easy to let people sign up for exactly what they want and also keep track of them. What I love the most is the user management and how much information you can add. You know, when somebody calls you and you are having a conversation and you need somewhere to put that information. I never knew what to do with that before, other than write it in a notebook while I’m on the phone with them. Now I go straight to that user and I put it in notes, and it automatically saves. It’s me writing the note, and mentioning the day, and I can write like “Phone call about:” and I put it in and never have to worry about forgetting that.
What I love about Regpack is that I don’t have to keep everything in my brain.
It’s so organized, and it’s so easy to make changes if you need to make them and also refunds… It’s fantastic!