They say the best things in life are free, but we know this hasn’t always been the case for our Free Meetings. In our recent Spring survey, you told us that one of your biggest tutoring frustrations is dealing with Free Meeting no-shows.
No-one likes being stood up, and we understand how inconvenient it is when you’ve planned your whole day around a meeting, only to get ghosted. That’s why we’ve made lots of changes this academic year to improve parent attendance – here’s an update.
Why parents miss Free Meetings
Most times, when a parent misses a Free Meeting, it’s either because they’ve forgotten, or because they’re confused about the platform. Lots of parents find themselves juggling busy jobs, childcare, relationships and household headaches – and, unfortunately, sometimes this means that appointments can fall off the list.
Meanwhile, some parents (especially if they aren’t very tech-savvy), might be wary of finding a tutor online. Or, they might get confused about their password and how to log in, and end up missing a Free Meeting because of tech barriers.
The changes we’ve made are designed to tackle these issues. Which leads very nicely on to…
What we’ve done to improve Free Meeting attendance
1. Ask the right questions
Now, when we’re on the phone with parents, we’re asking for much more information up-front, including how often they’d like lessons, when they’re available, and which exam board their child is studying for. We hope this means they’ll have more confidence in the tutor we’ve matched them with.
2. Make better introductions
We’ve given our Free Meeting notification emails a complete overhaul. Now, before a free meeting, parents get an email with a detailed introduction to their tutor, including a photo, name and bio snippet. We’re also asking tutors to write a short intro message for each parent, to help build the relationship – and encourage them to remember that you’re a real person behind the screen!
On top of that, we’re giving parents a clearer explanation of how Free Meetings work, and drilling in the importance of letting you know if they can’t make it.
3. Call in advance
We’re now proactively calling parents ahead of Free Meetings to check that they’re all set up and ready to go. If there are any issues, we’ll cancel or reschedule the meeting for them, so you get a bit more warning. For these calls, we’re focusing on parents who look especially risky – based on indicators like whether they’ve logged into the platform since the meeting was booked.
4. Make logging in easier
It may not be quite the stuff of Harry Potter, but we’ve set up a new ‘magic login’ feature, which means that parents who have lost their login details can now get in just by clicking a link in an email – without having to remember their password. Yer a wizard ‘Arry.
What we’re not doing
We’ve had lots of questions about whether we could introduce a deposit for first meetings, to make parents more likely to show up. Although this makes sense, we think the potential benefits would be outweighed by the number of parents who’d find a deposit off-putting.
Lots of people are iffy about spending money on a new service that they’ve never tried before, and the idea of a free ‘trial’ is a really effective motivator. So we’ve got no plans to change this in the near-term.
What you can do to get parents to attend
Just be your usual charming self! It always helps if you can reassure the parent by dropping them a friendly message to let them know a bit about yourself and share your skills and experience. You could also ask about their child’s interests and learning style to show that you’re keen to tailor lessons to their needs.
With the changes we’ve made so far, we’ve already seen a 10% decrease in the number of missed Free Meetings, and we’re constantly looking for ways to get that number down even further. If you have any questions or feedback on Free Meetings (or anything else!) please feel free to get in touch via email@example.com.