What to expect from our November upgrade

One of the nice things about using ClassJuggler software to simplify the business of running your business is that you never need to download software updates – it’s all online, and all upgrades happen automatically. We periodically upgrade the product to add new features or enhance old ones. Here’s a quick summary of…

Key product improvements from our November 9 update

First, you’ll see a new privilege has been set up for the new Database Maintenance tool.

Second, in the menu path Billing > Customer Payments, you’ll now see a new item: Batch Payment Processing.  We’ve added a new batch payment option that gives you much greater control over what types of transactions you will collect payments for when processing batch payments. There are now two batch action buttons:

  • Process Customers – FULL BALANCES (the original way)
  • Process Customers – SELECTED CHARGE ACCOUNTS (the new option)

Clicking the new button takes you to a secondary screen where you will select one or more accounts that will be included in the batch payment run.

For example, if you select to only collect on the charge accounts for “Tuition” and “Competition Fee,” only those types of charges get paid.

Let’s say a customer has a balance due of $400.00. This includes $100 in tuition, $40 for registration fees, $60 for merchandise, and $200 for competition fees. After running the batch payment collection, this customer’s credit card would only be billed for $300: the $100 in tuition and $200 in competitions fees on their account. The remaining charges on their account would stay unpaid.

Another new item: Tools > Database Maintenance. This new tool allows an administrator at your school to perform a variety of database maintenance tasks. This tool will develop over time to offer additional maintenance features as those capabilities are identified. The first two features are:

  • Student Measurements Reset
  • Customer Balance Re-Calculator

The measurements tool allows an administrator to reset all student measurements so that they can be entered fresh.

The Customer Balance Re-Calculator tool allows an administrator to verify and re-calculate all customer balances in order to fix any balances in error (rare, but it can happen).

More Changes and Enhancements

Home Base – We’ve added two new alerts to the Action Center: Customer Portal migration alert (temporary alert to assist with migration notifications), and Customer Portal Fixed Registration End Date alert (which will tell you if your fixed end date is in error or expired).

Customer Portal – We made minor improvements to wording in field labels and help screens to clarify information.

Customer Portal > Billing > Make a Payment – Customers can now provide their own payment descriptions. A default description will appear but can be edited by the customer.

Customer > Customer Transactions – Credit and debit payments now have more simplified details, showing:

        • What credit or debit card, how the card info was captured (on-file, manual entry, or swiped)
        • If the payment came from the Customer Portal
        • Transaction ID from the gateway.

Customer Portal payments now also have a second description always coded “Customer online card payment” for ease of identification.

Class > Attendance > Manage Regular Attendance – The attendance system is smarter now. For example:

  • If a class has not yet started, it will select the first class date as the attendance date instead of selecting the current day and time.
  • Manage attendance now checks to make sure you do not attempt to add attendance entries before the class begin date and time or after the class end date and time. This also works when adding special attendance entries like Try-Outs (Drop-In) and Make-Ups.
  • We’ve expanded the class date selector to show up to 24 weeks of classes surrounding the current date (up from 12).

Student > View Attendance – Expanded the initial period viewed from 1 month to 12 months. You can also now view up to three years at a time of special attendance entries.

Billing > Customer Payments: Manual – Clicking on a customer row with a future balance now only populates the current balance due in the amount field instead of the current + future balance amounts. This is to help prevent payments being made against future transactions which causes the display and calculations for a customer account to display incorrect information.

Billing > Customer Payments: Batch – We removed the option to collect balances based on future balances. This was causing balances to be displayed incorrectly, based on how the payments were applied. A change to how payments are made against future transactions will be made in a later upcoming release.

Tools > Customer Portal Manager – We added edits for the Sign In Page address and social media links to ensure the URL is a valid web address.

Help and Links Menu – This is an ongoing project, with this current release having the following edits:

  • Updated the online help menu to display all text in green to follow the interface coloring standards for help.
  • Restyled the help menu to be smoother for high resolution retina displays.
  • Began process of replacing help menus on all screens with new version.
  • We hope you enjoy the new enhancements! If you have questions about any of these, please feel free to contact us, and we can walk you through the relevant new processes.

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Time’s a’Wasting!

If you had places to go, things to do, people to portal migration funnyhelp, and your only form of transportation was rollerskates, you would likely be thinking, “I sure wish I had a car, so I could get so much done!”

This is exactly how we feel when we see that some of our clients have not yet taken advantage of the free upgrade from the old Customer Self-Service Center product to its new, snazzy replacement: The Customer Portal. The new version is so much easier for your customers to use – 100-percent mobile device friendly, for instance – that your customers will be able to self-register, sign up for classes, and even pay for classes all by themselves , saving you time and money.

Like switching from rollerskates to a car. That much better.

Which is why we regret to say that this will be the…

Final Customer Portal Migration Reminder

The deadline to migrate to the new Customer Portal is rapidly December 15, 2017. The old Customer Self-Service Center will no longer exist after December 15, so you need to upgrade right away. It’s easy to migrate from the old system to the new, and takes very little of your time.

What happens if I don’t migrate on time?

If you haven’t taken the necessary steps, ClassJuggler will automatically migrate all clients who have the legacy Customer Self-Service Center and haven’t yet migrated to the new Customer Portal. We will also disable the old Customer Self-Service Center system.

At a glance, this may sound like a good thing, but it likely is not. Here’s why:

  • You may not gain all new features of the Customer Portal when we complete your migration.
  • Links to the old Self-Service Center on your website that have not been updated will direct your customers to the wrong address. The old address will display an alert page, for a short period of time, that will tell your customers your portal has moved, and to contact you to correct your links.
  • To prevent this from happening, take steps right away. Download the Step-by-Step Migration Guide to quickly and easily migrate to the new Customer Portal.

Extreme Trials for ClassJuggler Client Alicia Extreme Dance Academy!

What a response we got from one of our Puerto Rico clients after we recently put out the word in both the September newsletter and October newsletter to all of our ClassJuggler clients that:

  • We had launched a donation matching program for those who would donate to Red Cross to aid victims of the summer hurricanes; and
  • We were offering a 50% discount off our monthly fee to those clients whose businesses were negatively impacted by the hurricanes.

What motivated ClassJuggler’s Jon Koerber to do this?

“I felt we needed to do something to support the needs of the literally millions affected by the record-breaking rains and flooding,” Jon explained. “So many of our own customers in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Puerto Rico were being directly hurt by facility damage and lost income. So I felt this two-pronged approach – a rate discount and a donation matching program — would not only help the schools we support with ClassJuggler’s software for class-based businesses but would motivate others to give to the Red Cross, who has a reputation for getting support to individuals who need it the most.”

Alicia Extreme Dance Academy’s damages:

As you may know, certain Caribbean islands took the brunt of some of the storms. This proved true for ClassJuggler client Alicia Extreme Dance Academy, who shared their story with us in words and pictures.

“We sincerely hope her story and her photos here will motivate our clients, and anyone who reads this, to dig a little deeper to provide further donations to those we have already heard about and responded to with our matching donations program,” Jon added.

These formerly beautiful wooden floors  at her studio have been thoroughly damaged by the flooding from Hurricane Maria:Wood floor

The next two photos show water damage to the studio’s dance mats:Floor panel damage 1Floor panel damage 2

Ceiling panels throughout the facility were destroyed by rain pouring in through the roof:

Ceiling

The force of hurricane Maria’s Wednesday destroyed critical rooftop utility hardware, ripping them up from their mountings:roof

“Our hearts go out to Alicia and all of her staff and family – and all our other clients affected by the recent spate of hurricanes,” said Jon. “We realize this is a terribly difficult time for them and want them to know that ClassJuggler cares!”

While many of us not affected by the storms have moved on and the news media has found other topics to focus on, clients and individuals in these affected areas continue to struggle with making ends meet, as Alicia’s story shows.

“We are encouraged by the donations our customers have made already, and hope that many more will join in this effort,” Jon Koerber added.

Don’t forget to tell us about it so we can fulfill our 50% match offer. We encourage you to continue to donate by visiting the Red Cross donation website. Please contact us for more information on our relief efforts and how to participate.

To learn more about Alicia Extreme Dance Academy, check out:

To learn more about ClassJuggler, check out:

Carry the Brightest of Lights

“The darkest of men carry the brightest of lights,” says Joe Putignano, “Acrobaddict” author.

meme ClassJuggler darkest of men acrobat

This is worth sharing, worth remembering. #forgiveness #hope #gymnastics #acrobatics #addiction

Learn more about Joe and his incredible story of overcoming addiction at http://www.joeputignano.com/ 

if you struggle to carry the bright light of your gymnastics school, or other class based business, check out www.cheerclassjuggler.com – school management software to simplify and streamline the operation of your business.

The Water Is Your Friend

The water is your friend. You don’t have to fight with water; just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move.”  – Motivating words from Russian master of #SprintSwimming #AleksandrPopov 

Aleksandr Popov Water is your friend ClassJuggler

Likewise in business, some swim school owners find themselves fighting with the strong current of keeping their business organized. No need to struggle! ClassJuggler is your friend. Stop fighting with the minutia of running your business and spend more time with your students with the help of swim school management software .www.swimclassjuggler.com. 

Find more motivational swim quotes and memes at https://www.pinterest.com/classjuggler/swim/.

Three Common Arguments against Accepting Credit Cards

A look at the cost of not accepting credit card payments in your small business

Our previous article looked at three specific cost advantages to accepting debit card and credit card payments in your small business. Equally important is the financial risks you might incur if you don’t accept credit card payments.

There are three seemingly strong arguments I hear small business owners use, reasons that, at first blush, seem compelling, but that ultimately end up costing their businesses more money than if they had accepted credit card payments. Let’s take a look at these.

Argument #1  The old-school way is working just fine, thanks.

This argument usually takes one form or another, such as:

  • “I’ve been taking checks for classes for the last 20 years.”
  • “My parents always pay by cash or check, and I see no reason to change or pay the extra fees with merchant processing.”

This is something I hear from time to time from prospective ClassJuggler clientimages. The truth is that the “old school” ways of bringing in money can be much more expensive.

A good question for that studio owner is, “Have you actually talked to your customers and asked them how much they enjoy writing you a check each month?”

The reality is that the overwhelming majority of parents would find it much more convenient to have their credit card billed automatically each month rather than write you a check. Seriously, who even carries a checkbook around with them anymore?

Argument #2 – “The fees and complexity are just too much.”

Here is something I’ve heard more than one prospective ClassJuggler customer say: “Merchant processing is expensive and complicated; I just don’t have time to figure this out.” image

While merchant processing and its associated fees can be confusing and complicated, when it is fully integrated into your studio management software, it becomes trivial to use.

As to costs, I encourage you to take a moment and answer the following questions, and see how this adds up:

  1. How much time do you spend chasing down late payments?
  2. How much time do you spend collecting cash or check payments each month, either at the front desk or by mail?
  3. How much time do you spend organizing deposits and visiting your bank branch?
  4. How much in time and cost is wasted on NSF bounced checks?
  5. How much time do you spend monitoring your checking account to see when checks clear and are deposited so you can pay your bills?

The reality is that most business owners do not take into consideration their own efforts spent on these time-intensive tasks. They don’t understand the real costs of their current payment process. And they often discount or ignore the inconvenience to their own customers.

After answering the questions above, add up the time. Typically, it adds up to at least 4 hours, usually much more. If you could save 4 to 8 hours monthly on payment collection, how much would that time be worth to you? That time could be turned into more classes taught, or time to better market your business, or time to plan that big open house event to promote your business.

Time really is money and saving 4, 8 or more hours monthly more than pays for the costs of accepting credit and debit cards.

Argument #3 – “Many of my customer’s aren’t online”

Statistics from June 2017 show that 88% of North Americans and 80% of Europeans are now internet users. The International Telecommunication Union estimates that about 3.2 billion people, or almost half of the world’s population, would be online by the end of the year.

I.e., your customers are online.

Accepting credit and debit card payments, particularly online, is a competitive necessity these days. Ultimately all dance, gymnastics, tennis, swim, martial arts, and music schools are, and must be, 100% customer service oriented. You want all of your students to have the best experiences and education you can give them, right? Why not continue that experience in how you interact with their parents, or with the student who is also the paying customer?

Think about this: If you lived near two identical grocery stores that had similar pricing and similar items but one store only accepted checks and the other only accepted credit or debit cards, which one would you visit? Can you imagine running to the store for a last-minute item you needed for a party and having to stop, pull out a checkbook, fill it out, wait for them to enter and scan your check and check your ID before being able to check out?

Pennywise and…?

Many businesses only look at the costs associated with a merchant account and consider it “money out the door.” They maintain their old policies of cash and check only payments. While they may save money on the costs of accepting credit and debit cards,  they aren’t really saving money when you factor in the costs of not accepting cards as payment.

ClassJuggler offers schools and other class-based businesses the ability to accept credit cards easily and affordably. When you let customers pay for classes online with a credit card, you get paid fast, and without the hassle or expense of collecting payments at your business, manual mailed billing, or check processing!

Setting up customer accounts and processing payments is simple. We’ve integrated these features right into our acclaimed ClassJuggler interface. Our affordable merchant payment processing option integrates account management and credit card processing technologies within ClassJuggler, making payment and processing as easy as a few mouse clicks.

Three Types of Savings You Get by Accepting Credit & Debit Payments

After our last article, which looked at the costs of accepting credit and debit payments, you may be a bit overwhelmed, or even depressed!  But, yes, accepting credit card and debit card payments can have cost advantages to a small business owner.  Let’s look at three of those cost savings benefits.

1. Decrease the time spent on your monthly billing cycle

A typical small class-based business, such as a dance studio, gymnastics school, or swim school of, say, 100 students can expect between 5% and 15% of their accounts to be late each month.

That may not sound like much, but that adds 4–8 additionalimage administrative hours or more each month, chasing down payments from customers. Those hours cost you money and lost business opportunities. It also leads to grumpy studio owners.

Accepting credit cards for your business can reduce time spent on chasing down late payments by 50 to 80 percent. Think what you could do with an extra 4 to 8 hours each month!

2. Reduce uncollected debt

Another cost of running a small class-based business is uncollected debt. When a parent who could not afford your classes gets too far into debt, they imageare likely to never pay you back the full amount.

Shifting responsibility from your studio to the customer’s credit card company allows you to collect those fees even if the customer defaults on paying their credit card bill.

3. Keep your administrative costs down

As your business grows, you will likely add instructors and more class types to bring excellent services to your students and their parents. imageBut at the same time, you don’t want your administrative costs to skyrocket.

Rather than adding additional admin staff to deal with customers, take those savings and invest them back into your classes and instructors by empowering customers to pay their bills to you online, unassisted by you.

In our next article, we’ll also look at the cost of NOT accepting credit card payments.