Our friends in the US did so last month and so now it has come to the UK’s turn to advance to the 2018/19 Academic Year! Our batteries are recharged (hopefully), we’re full of enthusiasm for the next year (probably), and memories of beaches or nice hotels or whatever summer holiday you opted for feel like an age ago (definitely).
Along with the change that sees students move up a level in the school system this September, there is also change at TutorCruncher. I, your blogger in chief/online support guru, will soon be leaving my role to start a new job this September. I have had a tremendous time at TutorCruncher over the past couple of years and leave with both a heavy heart and my head held high. The progress we have made as a company is particularly pertinent to these Newsletters, as looking at all that has been improved on the system since my very first one in December 2016 up to the present moment is a real source of pride for me and the whole team at TutorCruncher. It has been a pleasure working with you, our users, over the past two years. I will miss being a part of the wonderful TutorCruncher team and am so grateful for having been a part of this journey since I began. I am certain that great things lie ahead for TutorCruncher and I as we part ways.
Alas, the newsletters will still be written and TutorCruncher will absolutely carry on crunching away! It would be my pleasure to introduce you to Fionn, the newest member of team TC. He’ll be taking the reins from here and you’re sure to see plenty of great things come from him in future. We’re thrilled to have him on board! Over to you, Fionn…
Thanks Sam! As our regular newsletter readers will know, I certainly have some big shoes to fill here. I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing Sam well as he goes to blog in new pastures.
But enough of the sentimental stuff for now, you’re here for news about the platform and I won’t disappoint you. Here’s a quick look over some of the exciting new developments that we’ve been beavering away on here in TutorCruncher HQ over the last 30 days….
- Our calendar function on phones was improved so that lessons that are cancelled but chargeable no longer show on the calendar.
- We rolled out a bug fix to amend the hour display as it was showing on the Invoice PDFs page, no more decimal points to worry about, all the displays now show simple hours and minutes, for example what did display as 1.5 hours now displays as 1 hour 30 minutes.
- Our calendar now remembers your existing colour settings when you leave the page so that your preferences can remain in place across sessions.
- We enhanced and improved the triggers for the auto review function.
- We have improved our lesson completion to correctly check low balances or remaining hours on the job.
- TutorCruncher now shows the day of the week of a scheduled lesson on the lesson information page, one less reason to have to have your calendar out.
- Our lesson reminder emails have now been corrected for timezone accuracy so that those of you working across timezones won’t have to deal with unnecessary confusion
- We have also improved the exported information for lessons, from now on this will include location data, enabling you to store, search and organise on the basis of lesson location.
And it’s not only been bug fixes and tweaks, there have also been a few big projects that we have pushed through in the last month that we are fiercely proud of, here’s a round up of some of our top picks:
Report Approval Improvements
Those of us familiar with TutorCruncher’s Report Approval capability will know about our mechanism for Administrators to be the first to see a Tutor’s Lesson Report before it is sent out to the client. For anyone unfamiliar, Lesson Reports are a great way of increasing user interaction with your tutoring company, a way of sharing information between the lesson Tutor and the Client. The Tutor is prompted after a lesson to review the topics covered and the students involved, this review is later shown to the client to provide feedback on how lessons are progressing. In certain circumstances however, it may not be appropriate for the Tutor to communicate directly with the client without some oversight. For that reason we have enabled the option to set up Report Approval, whereby a draft of the Tutor’s Lesson Report will first be sent to the Administrator. The report will stay pending the Admin’s approval before being sent directly to the client.
We have now made this process even more streamlined, adding an approval button directly onto the Report Details page for added convenience and creating an alert on the lesson page for any relevant report that requires approval so you will always know what needs to be done next.
We have also improved our interface on the Reports screen, making it clearer to Administrators when they have pending reports and when they have completed their approvals. There is now an action being stored so that you will be able to see when a particular administrative colleague has gone in and approved the lesson reports. Additionally, you will very shortly have the option to filter your lesson reports awaiting approval by the relevant client manager, to allow you to delegate and manage workflows nice and effectively.
Academic Year Editing
Another one of the big changes we rolled out in the last month was a new system for appraisal of the academic year of students. While we already gave access to a rolling increase in academic year for your students we are now honing in on different geographies and providing a more tailored service to the regions in which our clients operate.
Do you run your business in Australia? In that case an academic year that advances on September 1st may not be much use to you. Similarly a December 30th academic year cut off would not be as useful to Americans, as it would be to Australians.
To select your students starting academic year, simply go into their student profile, click Edit, and under Address & Contact Details you will be given an option to set academic year.
When combined with other fully customisable metrics (you can learn how to get the most out of your custom metrics here) which can monitor anything your heart desires (graduation year, level of academic achievement, number of remaining baby teeth, etc.), this provides an extra level of insight into the students and enables a company to cater more directly to the students in their care.
Stripe Interface Improvements
Those of you who have set up card payments for clients on TutorCruncher will likely be familiar with Stripe. Stripe is an integrated card payment system that provides the technical, fraud protection and banking infrastructure required to easily take card payment on TutorCruncher.
The Stripe integration has always been pretty seamless but we here at TC are always looking for improvements and Stripe is such an important component of the platform that we saw the opportunity to revamp the interface and make it much more intuitive, user friendly and easy on the eyes. We have integrated with Stripe’s latest technology, known as Stripe Elements, to provide a sleeker and more secure user experience.
Thanks to this update we have been able to maintain all the same simple and straightforward functionality of our existing Stripe system with an even better interface than before.
There has also been one change to our Stripe payment system that our long time users will have noticed that goes beyond the aesthetic; there is now functionality to add a client’s billing address details. This is the industry best practice for detecting payer fraud, keeping your wallet safe from any sketchy client activity, so you can enjoy more peace of mind about your clients payments and have a more pleasant user experience at the same time.
Socket Enquiries into Job Descriptions
A major component of TutorCruncher’s offering is certainly it’s Socket Integration. Socket Integration offers a level of seamless connection between the TutorCruncher platform and the company’s website and great added functionality all without compromising on aesthetics or a company’s brand consistency. (Read more about how to get the most out of Socket here).
With these TutorCruncher Socket, you are able to set up enquiry form for clients to express their interest and even specify when they would be available for a trial lesson, among other many other options. This has a couple of really useful benefits, firstly it greatly increases client engagement from the get go and serves as a great call to action, secondly it also acts as a really handy organisational tool as it automatically generates a job in the company account for the time and date which the new client has suggested, meaning all that the administrator has to do is slide in and take it from there. Automatic job creation is a great tool to ensure that a client’s registration of interest is never missed and it streamlines the process for scheduling that all important first lesson and wowing your new clients right off the bat.
That was our system as it stood 30 days ago, and a handy system it was too, but we’re all about taking the good and making it better so we thought why not add some extra functionality? What we have done now is to include even more new client feedback and ensure no beats are ever missed, is link the Tell Us About Yourself text box in the Contact Us form directly to the job description as it appears on your TutorCruncher account.
Could you use an example? Let’s go for it. Below you will see the Contact Us form that has been filled out by Joe. Joe is a worried father who has come across your website and is looking for some help for his son. When Joe see this Contact Us form he jots down some of his information and sends it off into the ether.
Straight away all of Jeff’s information is being directed to your TutorCruncher account. A new job has been created for the Trial Lesson on the 13th of September and an alert has been sent to you, the administrator. But what happens when you view that job? Jeff has given us valuable information about his son and we want his particular needs met, so TutorCruncher takes Jeff’s comments and sticks them straight into the job description. Now with no additional effort you will be able to see exactly what Jeff wants from his son’s first tutoring experience and you’ll be off to a flying start with one satisfied client, no extra work necessary.
That’s all the major updates for the time being but I know our readers can never wait for the next exciting installment of tweaks, fixes and improvements. Just to whet your appetite here’s a quick preview of what awaits you in the next installment of the TC Newsletter:
- Improved Job Application Notifications
- A great expansion to our international Payouts system
What’s that, you want more TutorCruncher? Was that sneak peak not enough to satisfy your TC itch? Well I’ve got some good news for you, we’re throwing a party! That’s right, for anyone in the neighbourhood we are throwing a big TC shindig on Wednesday September 12th in our London HQ running between 4pm and 8pm, so drop a message to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join us. For all of you signed up, we can’t wait to see you there.