Category: Retention

Taking Attendance is Dumb

Every piece of martial arts software out there will let you take attendance.

Taking attendance, by itself, is a dumb thing to do.

The smart thing to do, the thing that will make your school more successful, is to USE that attendance data to do the things that matter. Things like retention. Or reports that tell you how your school is performing based on the attendance data. Or using your attendance data to market to people who used to attend your school.

If you’re doing those things, then taking attendance is a great thing to do. If you’re not dong those things, then taking attendance is waste of time.

Here’s a video showing the different ways MasterVision can use that attendance data to help you run a better school.

 

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Growing Your Dojo – #3 Retention, Grab Bag

(This is a series of blog posts following along with Michael Massie’s Growing Your Dojo series of emails and how MasterVision can help with each of the steps. You can sign-up for Mike’s daily email list here.) Let’s talk about Step #3:

Step #3 – Retention. Keeping students around for the long haul. This basically amounts to two things – promise fulfillment, and customer service. This is another step many school owners skip, which leads to stalled growth and a poor community reputation.

We’ve looked at Measuring Your Retention and how to Spot Problems with Retention. Here are other ways you can use MasterVision to help with your retention:

  • Take attendance and use the automatic messages that go to the appointment book so that you know who is missing class.
  • For the students that are simply missing an occasional class (“Missed Class” in the appointment book), use the email and texting abilities to drop them a quick note to let them know you care and that you want them to stay on track.
  • Use the Message ability in MasterVision to create these repeating messages so you can send them quickly without typing them up every time.
  • For the students who haven’t shown up for class in two weeks (“Retention” entry in the appointment book), send them a different, more urgent message. Encourage them to come in and talk with you. Maybe have postcards you mail these students and use MasterVision to quickly create a mailing label.
  • Use the email ability in the Selector to stay in communication with your students. Things you can email the students: Exam reminders, special summer classes, holiday sales, special training opportunities.
  • Use the anniversary feature when taking attendance to know when a student’s yearly anniversary with your school comes up. Be sure to point this out in class.
  • Use the Mail Merge features with Microsoft Word to create quality exam certificates.

In short, use MasterVision to stay in communication with your students so that they know you care, use MasterVision to alert you to any problems so you can head them off before it becomes a lost student, and use MasterVision to provide value to your students.

 

Next: Leadership Training

Growing Your Dojo – #3 Retention, Improve It

(This is a series of blog posts following along with Michael Massie’s Growing Your Dojo series of emails and how MasterVision can help with each of the steps. You can sign-up for Mike’s daily email list here.) Let’s talk about Step #3:

Step #3 – Retention. Keeping students around for the long haul. This basically amounts to two things – promise fulfillment, and customer service. This is another step many school owners skip, which leads to stalled growth and a poor community reputation.

Last time we talked about measuring your Retention (or your Attrition rate, they’re the same idea). But what do you do if your retention rate isn’t so good? How can you find and fix the problem? MasterVision will help with that as well.

Go into Reports (the printer button on the toolbar), the Retention section, and you’ll find a variety of “Retention By” reports (by Age, by Months, by Rank), etc. Each of these reports will show you exactly where you are losing students.

For example, the retention by rank shows you the percent of all the starting students that drop out at each rank. You might find that there are certain ranks where you retain students and they keep going, but that there are other ranks where a larger than normal group of students is quitting. You’ll want to look at those ranks and figuring out why you’re losing students at that point.

 

Or maybe it’s age that is a problem – you do great with young kids, but are losing teenagers? Or maybe it’s time that is a problem – students are happy for about 9 months, but then start dropping out?

Whatever it is, MasterVision will help you identify the problem spot. It’ll be up to you to then fix it.

Next: How MasterVision Can Help Retention in Other Ways.

Growing Your Dojo – #3 Retention

(This is a series of blog posts following along with Michael Massie’s Growing Your Dojo series of emails and how MasterVision can help with each of the steps. You can sign-up for Mike’s daily email list here.) Let’s talk about Step #3:

Step #3 – Retention. Keeping students around for the long haul. This basically amounts to two things – promise fulfillment, and customer service. This is another step many school owners skip, which leads to stalled growth and a poor community reputation.

First, I think Michael left out an important first step – Measure your retention. If you’re not measuring your retention, you don’t know if any of the other things is working or not. Calculating your retention manually is very complicated. Calculating it with MasterVision is just a couple clicks. Here’s how:

Go to Reports (printer button on the toolbar), go to the Retention section, and run the “Attrition Rate Over Time” report (Attrition is just the opposite of Retention – Retention is what % of students are you keeping while Attrition is what % of students you are losing).

This report is explained in more detail here. Run this report at the end of every month to see how your retention is doing and to know if the steps you are taking are improving it or not.

 

Next: How MasterVision Helps You Spot Retention Problems

Reactivation Letter

On the 8th day of Christmas, Small Dojo Big Profits recommends you put together a reactivation letter to send to prospects that are no longer students. We already saw how to create mailing labels in MasterVision, let’s look at how we can create mailing labels for the reactivation letter.

There’s probably two groups of people you’d like to send these letters to – prospects who never joined your school and students who did join the school but are no longer attending. We’ll run the Selector twice, with different criteria, to get those mailing labels.

To get that list of prospects that never joined, you’d want to select Prospects and Open Prospects in MasterVision. Additionally, you probably want folks who recently inquired about joining your school. Your Selector ends up looking something like this:

SelectorProspect

To get the list of students who are no longer attending classes, you’d want the Inactive and Expired status on the first tab. Again, you probably want students that recently stopped attending classes rather than people who stopped attending four years ago. On the Attendance tab, set the Last Attended to the date range you want:

SelectorLastAttended

On the Output tab, set the output to Mailing Labels and you’re done! You’ve got mailing labels for a reactivation letter.

Mailing Labels

Getting ready to send out your Christmas cards? (Here’s Michael Massie talking about why you should). You can use MasterVision to quick and easily create mailing labels for all your students.

First, open the Selector. You can click the “S” button from the toolbar or Tools > Selector from the menu.

On the Selector screen, you can set whatever criteria you want. You probably only want a label for Active students. Or, possibly, you want to send a card to any Prospect who inquired in the last month or so. Set the criteria who whomever you want.

SelectorStatus

Next, on the Output tab of the Selector, select the Mailing Label you want.

SelectorMailingLables

Click the green check mark button to create your labels. Voila! Instant mailing labels for the students you wanted.

A quick note about Avery labels: If you have a laser printer, you want to get the Avery 5160 labels. If you have an ink jet printer, you want to get the Avery 8160 labels. They’re the same layout and size, they are just made slightly different for the type of printer.

Analyze Retention

Now that we know that measuring your retention rate is important, you may be looking into some insight into why your retention rate is what it is and ways that you can improve it. MasterVision can give you  that insight as well.

MasterVision comes with several retention reports – By Age, By Months, By Rank, and By Weeks. Each of these reports takes a group of students and shows you at which step in the program students are dropping out. Let’s take a look at Retention By Week:

RetentionByWeek

So this report is finding every student that inquired in the date range shown and then shows you the progress of students leaving the school. The “group” column is showing you week numbers since this is the By Weeks report. So breaking it down:

Week 1 – Every student attends at least 1 week so this line shows that you had 17 students inquire in the date range and nobody has dropped out.

Week 2- There is no week 2 on this report. That means nobody dropped out at the second week.

Week 3 – We have our first student that dropped out. The attended for three weeks but didn’t attend anymore than that. 5.88% of the student signed up in this time period dropped out after only 3 weeks.

Week 4 – We lost another one.

Week 5, 6, 7 – Not on the report, so we lost no one in that week.

Week 8 – Lost another one.

etc.

So what would you do with this information? I’d focus on the big numbers – at week 25 the school suddenly loses 3 students and at week 40-42 the school is losing 6 students! Figure out what is happening at those times.

Are contracts renewing and students are opting not to renew (so you need to start working on a better renewal process? Are your lessons getting tedious at those points and you need to make class more interesting? MasterVision has shown you where a problem is, now you have to figure out how to fix it.

 

Measuring Retention

Today’s Martial Arts Business Daily by Mike Massie has some great thoughts on Retention (you’ll find the article here. If you’re not already subscribed to his free newsletter, you can do that here at the top right of the page).

I’ll let you read the article for what he says on Retention, but I want to touch on this particular part:

unless you’re tracking those numbers (retention) as a trend over the life of your school, from month to month and from year to year, you really haven’t unlocked the full benefit of knowing that number on a monthly basis

And this part quoting Peter Drucker:

“What gets measured gets managed.”

MasterVision can help you increase your retention (and I’ll talk about that in the coming days), but it will also let you instantly measure retention. Mike says this might take you 10 minutes a day. With MasterVision, it’ll take you 10 seconds.

Go into Tools > Reporting from the menu. Select the Retention category and then “Attrition Rate Over Time” report. This report shows you how many active students you had in a date range, how many active students you had at the end of that date range, and then the percentage of students that had dropped out (the attrition rate – how many students you lost).

It also shows you who those students were that dropped out and their last rank. This might give you a hint on where to focus your efforts to decrease your attrition (or increase your retention, however you like to think about it). For example, if you notice that a lot of folks are quitting at a certain belt level, you may want to look at what is happening at that level. If a lot of students are dropping out because their contract expired and they opted not to renew, you may want to look at your renewal process.

This report is asking for a date range that you want to look at. You’ll want to decide on a range (I’d suggest six months or 12 months). I’d then run this report every month, on the same day, for that same amount of time. As you work to improve your retention, check the report to see if your rate is going down.

Lastly, you can run this report for previous date ranges. If you haven’t been paying attention to your retention rate, go in and run this report now for the last 12 months ending November 1st, and then 12 months ending October 1st, and then 12 month ending September 1st. This will let you see  what the trend is for your retention rate.

An example of this report is below. The help file page that explains this report is here.

RetentionReport