How AfterSchool maximized its WhatsApp performance
Shorter Response Time
Decrease In Manpower
Education is a gigantic industry now more than ever. The global market for private tutoring estimated at 123.8 Billion USD in the year 2020, is expected to reach a revised size of 201.8 Billion USD by 2026. In Hong Kong, nearly 70% of students are going to attend private tutoring according to a survey done by The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups. Getting a private tutor after school is a general consensus, if not a must. In the last decade, it was not surprising to see many billboards featuring the popular tutors shining on the busy streets as if they were superstars.
Although the superstar tutors are passé, the competition is indeed still fierce. Multiple online learning platforms have emerged. The downside of online teaching is the lack of face-to-face interactions. Parents and students might have a second thought about adopting this new learning mode.
Ronald Tse, the founder of AfterSchool, has however proved the opposite. Within just two years, AfterSchool has become one of the largest online tutoring platforms in Hong Kong accumulating up to 50,000 registered users. The flexibility of online private tutorials has disrupted the industry, allowing students to learn anytime, anywhere.
To thrive in this crowded industry, AfterSchool has taken up an innovative approach with SleekFlow to engage with its tens of thousands of students and build loyalty.
The Problem and Challenge
Email marketing is not the right means for the Generation Z
“We tried to use email at first but we’ve found out most students didn’t read it. They might therefore miss some important notice such as schedule change.” Ronald stated.
Traditional means of marketing such as Email Direct Marketing (eDMs) are effective for business professionals. While students are the major audiences of Afterschool, social channels like WhatsApp, Instagram are the norm. To ensure the message from AfterSchool is delivered, Ronald’s team depends heavily on WhatsApp. This explained the need for a WhatsApp customer relationship management (CRM) system.
No way to track or archive the WhatsApp conversation and manage students’ contacts
With over 50 tutors across a wide range of subjects from mathematics to visual arts, there are countless conversations between tutors, assistants, and students. Full-time tutors often use their own work phone numbers to reply to messages. Though there is no way to track or archive. It is also not cost-effective for each teaching staff to have a work phone either. Part-time teachers sometimes would use their personal numbers to interact with students. Students’ phone contact is a valuable asset to AfterSchool and it also raised privacy concerns if former employees keep a list of students’ contacts.
Replying to WhatsApp repetitive inquiries from students is cumbersome
Asking is a vital task in learning. As a virtual tutorial center, answering students’ questions is a daily routine. 50-60% of the questions from students are similar, especially for the same subjects and same year. Copy and paste from a separate question and answer bank have therefore taken up much time of the teaching assistants (TAs). To save some time, TAs would group students’ inquiries by subject and year. But again, that classification is done manually on a separate excel file. Switching from tabs to tabs is again another major task for the TAs.
The teaching assistants cannot log in to the office WhatsApp number simultaneously
It is hard for the TAs to help tutors answer students’ text inquiries. With one work phone number, only the person holding the mobile phone could talk to students. Double log-in is allowed from desktop and mobile. It is still efficient enough to respond swiftly to thousands of students.
The Solutions via SleekFlow
A centralized CRM platform for overseeing all the social messages between students and teachers to almost halve the response time
As SleekFlow provides both website and app versions, the AfterSchool team can easily log in to either the SleekFlow web or SleekFlow mobile app to check the messages and reply to students. The different staff has different access rights. Ronald, the founder certainly has the right to access all conversations. All students’ contacts and chat history are now officially owned by AfterSchool.
SleekFlow labeling function also enables AfterSchool’s team to classify their students or certain conversation. For instance, they can segment students according to year and subject. Whenever they need to broadcast a schedule change announcement or homework resources link, they can easily select a list of students. There is also no upper limit of contact in one list, unlike WhatsApp Business which can only broadcast up to 256 contacts at a time.
An unlimited number of simultaneous log-in, tutors, and assistants can even co-own the conversation
As mentioned, the AfterSchool team can log in to the SleekFlow platform altogether. Apart from just seeing the WhatsApp conversations all together in SleekFlow’s inbox, the AfterSchool team can co-own the conversations. They can set a team of collaborators for certain conversations. For example, the Mathematics team consists of 2 tutors and 4 TAs, all students attending the Mathematic class would be assigned to these 6 people automatically after setting up the rules. These 6 people will all receive a notification whenever a student with the label “Mathematics” sends them a message.
TAs can help to reply to students when tutors are recording their video class. The response time to students is hence shorter. Everyone in the Mathematic team can access the social messages under this label. Tutors can also check the TAs’ answers to ensure quality. TAs can leverage the internal note function to tag tutors in private when they are not sure how to answer the questions. The internal not can only be seen by the AfterSchool team, not students.
Quick reply for FAQs from students
With SleekFlow quick reply feature, the TAs can select the pre-written reply in the SleekFlow system. Without switching to another tab, the staff can simply type “/”, a list of replies can be selected. See below.
“I can say set automatic replies to those FAQs can solve most problems already. This saves a lot of manpower and students can get their answers right away.”
Pop quizzes using the autoreply function can boost students’ interaction
The afterSchool team strives to interact with their students through different means. They are creative when it comes to WhatsApp Business API’s automation. They have set some multiple-choice quizzes and broadcasted them to students through WhatsApp. Once students replied A or B or C or D, an automatic reply would be triggered accordingly showing the correct answers and explanation. Students are highly motivated in this gamify tutorial.
Students can also choose to unsubscribe. That’s another automatic rule you can set via SleekFlow.
Announcements through WhatsApp increased the open rate significantly
Likewise, admin announcements can be broadcasted through the SleekFlow platform. Now all the students’ contacts are contained in SleekFlow with proper labels for classification. Targeted admin messages can be automatically sent. For example, a reminder to enroll in the advanced class after the second last lesson of the beginners’ class can be sent to the students. Another reminder can be sent with a promo code when the targeted students still have not enrolled in the next level after the last lesson of the previous level.
We use WhatsApp to contact our students, but it should not be regarded as merely an announcement board or customer service chatroom. We treat our students as friends, and that’s how we make the students trust AfterSchool. Speak their language.
Do you speak your customer’s language and be their ally guiding them through their customer journey? Unleash your social messaging potential with us today!
Watch Ronald’s sharing video on our feature program: That’s Why I SleekFlow.
Established in 2018, Afterschool is an education center providing virtual lessons for junior high to high schools students. It operates as a social enterprise to promote equality in education. There are currently about 50 tutors offering more than 200 courses for high school students, accumulating 50,000 registered users.