A little background on Enrollsy
Enrollsy started in November of 2016. It wasn't official at that point, but I had started putting the idea into a wireframe and recruited some specialized resources to ensure I wasn't missing anything obvious in the concept and design. The team included a senior UI/UX designer from Pluralsight, a PhD from Rice University, and an old business partner who is second to none in his understanding of database architecture and design and payments. All of these guys helped me get Enrollsy out of my head and into a working product, but ironically none of them were in a position to be part of a startup. Understandable. Fast forward to today and Enrollsy is a registered trademark with a brand that has become synonymous with a superior customer experience for owners and directors of instructor-led and enrollment-based businesses. We have a team of seven employees, including two of the most talented and hardworking guys I know (Co-founders Ty Holbrook and Tyler Andersen), and fortunately we've been able to continue to grow despite the impact Coronavirus is having.
Enrollsy is the best Childcare Manager software alternative
Our first customer happened to be the preschool my son attended and was using Childcare Manager. During our many discussions before they became a customer, they mentioned that Childcare Manager (CCM) really did most all of the things they needed. They almost didn't switch, but then Childcare Manager was purchased and when they discovered that it would no longer be supported with updates, they decided it was the perfect time to switch. Fortunately for them and for us, the months of time and the many conversations we had with their owner and the five directors at each of their locations paid off. In the end, Enrollsy was something entirely new, but also completely familiar to them. This is why Enrollsy is the best alternative to Childcare Manager. Enrollsy was built with direct feedback from five very active users and combines all the benefits of CCM with the power of a cloud-based platform to automate enrollment, billing, payments, and more. We recently signed up another CCM customer in Idaho, so I thought this would be the perfect time to demonstrate the features and benefits that CCM customers like best about Enrollsy.
Reason #1: Simplicity and ease of use
When you spend 1, 2, 5, or 10 years using the same software to run your business, making a change is a bit daunting. Regardless of whether you think CCM is user-friendly or not, it's familiar to you and you have your processes down. The first things you should consider for in a software platform is how easy will it be for you and your customers to use it? The world is filled with poorly designed software. A compromise in this area leads to excessive work arounds, long training sessions, and difficulty bringing on new employees who can step in and quickly contribute to your business. One of the things we discovered that was important to our first customer was the ability to record payments. They had a lot of customers paying with cash and check. While the goal was always to convert them to paperless payments, they wanted to have an easy way to record a stack of checks in customer's accounts. As simple as it is, the Transactions drawer in Enrollsy was designed to let you quickly search for an account, record the payment, and then move right on to the next one without ever having to close the window or change screens. This is just one example, but it is indicative of the kinds of decisions we've made throughout the product to maximize usability and minimize friction with users.
Reason #2: Web-based
Getting out of the installed software world and into the world of web-based software can be a bit of a leap for some people. While we are all getting more and more comfortable using cloud-based software be it email, calendars, or a variety of other platforms, sometimes there are concerns that must be addressed head on when it comes to managing your business and customer information online. I'd like to address these things, but before I do, here is a list of the benefits of taking your business to a web-based platform like Enrollsy:
- Access your information anywhere, on any internet-enabled device
- Give customers access to their information anywhere, on any internet-enabled device
- Give teachers access to their class rolls and allow them to post activities and photos and text parents from an app
- Allow for digital payments
- Get your information and processes out of silos, off of paper, and out of spreadsheets
With all of these pros, which are very compelling, I want to address how Enrollsy hedges against the potential cons below:
- Users are required to have their own login
- Each login is required to use MFA*
- Parents have their own logins
- Teachers have their own logins
- All payment information uses point-to-point encryption and is stored as a token (learn more here)
*If you're unfamiliar with MFA, it stands for multi-factor-authentication. The purpose of this security feature is to require users to authenticate using something they know (a password) and also to verify their login by proving they have something they posses (their phone). Enrollsy requires users to input their password and then receive a simple push notification on their phone and click allow before their session begins.
Reason #3: Quickbooks Desktop Integration
Most Childcare Manager customers also use Quickbooks, but not the online version. From what I've seen of installed software, Quickbooks' Desktop version might be one of a few if not the only exception to the rule that cloud-based software outperforms installed software. Not only is Quickbooks Desktop cheaper, but from the feedback we've received, it's better in so many ways. I'm not here to debate that and we don't have a dog in the fight, but I will say that we have a great Quickbooks Online integration, our integration with Quickbooks Desktop is top notch and gives Childcare Manager customers who are using Quickbooks Desktop an easy way to keep their costs down without losing the convenience of integrated bookkeeping. With Enrollsy, you simply pick a date range you want to sync with Quickbooks Desktop, click download, and then open your company file and import the IIF file that Enrollsy spit out for you. It's super easy and with this integration, you get a perfect mapping to your chart of accounts.
Reason #4: Paperless enrollment
While most child care and preschool software provides ample levels of customization for different fields and data retention needs, getting the data into the software largely remains a manual, painful process. Furthermore, many states have licensing requirements that force centers to keep specific paperwork on file. This deadly combination leads to a terrible enrollment experience for both families and centers. Some of the more obvious challenges include:
- Required versus optional fields—how do you enforce these on paper?
- Simply passing the papers back and forth
- Reading parent handwriting
- Manual data entry
- Resending documents for signature and/or review annually or on some other expiration date
- Maintaining files with a variety of forms organized by family
Enrollsy makes all of this a breeze using a unique 2-step enrollment process that is 100% digital. In fact, 57% of parents complete the entire enrollment process on a phone.
Step 1: Enrollsy's Enroll Form
The first step is to either create or have Enrollsy create a custom intake form for you. This form includes the fundamental information required in order to secure a seat in one of your programs. This typically includes:
- Parent/guardian information - this information can include anything you need to collect relating to the parent(s) and/or family
- Student/enrollee information - This information can include anything you need to collect about the student/enrollee
- Program selection - This includes multiple enrollment periods, can use a picklist or calendar view, and includes the logic for managing capacities, waitlists, and funneling the enrollment down to any associated fees and costs
- Payment information - accept electronic check, debit card, and all major credit cards and choose to allow people to opt-in/out of autopay or enforce autopay
- Enrollment confirmation and account creation - Summarized transactions, pass-through fees (optional), setting a password for account (also optional), and agreement to terms checkbox (not shown in video below)
As you can see, these forms are highly customizable and can include conditional logic, select and multi-select lists, date fields, and more. The concept with these forms is that you want to make it as easy as possible to convert someone who has expressed interest in your program into a paying customer.
Step 2 (optional): Enrollsy's Digital Signature Process
The second step in the enrollment process is to tackle those pesky forms that require a legally binding signature. Many of these forms require the same information collected during step one, but the worst part for your customer is that this information is often repeated on multiple pages. This can mean tons of brain-numbing work for mom or dad or whoever is filling out the forms. So, Enrollsy has made this step as easy as possible. When someone enrolls into a program that has forms that need to be completed and signed, those forms get pre-filled with all known data provided in step one and are presented to the customer for confirmation. Any additional fields are available to fill out and required fields ensure that a form cannot be completed until they have been filled in and all initials and signatures are captured. When this is done, the document gets date/time stamped and gets sent back into Enrollsy where you can view and/or download/print it. This functionality is perfect for collecting:
- Student information forms required by state licensing
- Health appraisals*
- And more
*Health appraisals and other documents that must be signed by a physician or other party can be pre-filled and mostly completed and then printed out by the parent after the packet is signed and sent to them. These can then be uploaded into Enrollsy or given to you in a paper format if desired. Either way, Enrollsy allows you to track all your forms and their expirations using our handy Form Finder feature.
Lastly, these documents are legally binding and include a detailed audit trail:
Reason #5: Automated billing and enrollment
Childcare Manager had semi-automated work flows. Meaning that while you could batch monthly tuition charges and/or payments, you still had to do something in order to have those automatic transactions happen. That's semi-automated. Enrollsy offers the flexibility to do this, but also allows for complete tuition automation. In fact, you can have a set billing and payment schedule for your customers as a whole, but then you can also:
- Create custom billing schedules on a per program basis
- Create custom auto-pay schedules on a per customer basis
This allows you to completely automate both billing and payments for those families who prefer auto-pay. You can also configure email and text reminders for payments so that your families are kept in the loop and directed to their parent account around billing/payment dates. We'll discuss this more in Reason #8.
But, to take it a step further, you can also add additional payers and those payers can be assigned portions so that blended/divorced families can have all their payment needs met without you breaking a sweat!
Reason #6: Duplicating enrollment periods
Another painful thing we observed Childcare Manager customers doing was rolling their programs over from year to year. In fact, it was much more of a manual process than a smooth rollover. So, at Enrollsy we made sure to add plenty of functionality around duplicating not only programs and settings like pricing and schedules, etc. but also entire enrollment periods. What does this mean? Well, if you track enrollments according to the school year, this means that once you have a school year's worth of programs and classes created, that you can simply duplicated that set up into another enrollment period. For example, if you wanted to create a 2020 - 2021 school year, all you would have to do is duplicate the 2019 - 2020 school year and all the programs along with their pricing and settings will rollover into that new enrollment period. From there it's super easy to jump in and update/edit:
- And more
Reason #7: Customer communication
With installed software communicating with customers is something you're forced to do outside of the platform. With the advancement in technology and the heavy adoption and use of text messaging, this doesn't really work. Childcare Manager didn't have a way to improve customer communication. With Enrollsy, texting is built into the platform. This means you'll have your very own local-presence phone number as a dedicated two-way texting number. So, all your administrators and teachers will be able to reach your customers in real-time on their devices, using the most common means of communication.
In addition to broadcast messages to large groups, you can also carry out private two-way messages with parents.
Reason #8: Parent portal
Childcare Manager didn't provide an easy way for parents to stay in the loop with your center. Enrollsy changes all of that. All you have to do is add a simple Parent Login button to your website. The parent portal is your and their best friend. Parent portals also allow parents to:
- Make payments
- Update payment information or add another payment method
- Re-enroll or enroll new students/enrollees without having to re-enter their information
- View their entire transaction history
- Print receipts and year-end-statements with your tax ID on them
- See a child's activity timeline
- Post activities to their child's timelines (think absent, check-in/out, photos, etc)
- View content your center has shared with the programs they are enrolled in
- Access forms, documents, and more
Reason #9: Recording cash and check transactions
While you're transitioning away from manual payments, which if you didn't think was important to do before, now that we are in a post-coronavirus world, you will certainly need to, it's nice to have some controls in place to ensure the proper recording and reconciliation of paper payments. Enrollsy includes options for posting both check and cash payments. It also includes a Deposit feature that lets you track who deposits your check and cash payments into your bank account. This makes reconciliation and fraud protection easy.
Reason #10: Reporting
Reporting is easier in Enrollsy than Childcare Manager and most other software. Enrollsy has the reports you would expect to see out of the box:
- A/R Aging
- Class lists
- Activities (check in/out, attendance, and more)
- Auto processing
- And more
We also provide a simple, but useful dashboard that allows you to see trends over time and class capacities at a glance:
To see a comprehensive list of reports available and to ask questions about your specific reporting needs, please schedule a demo.
In summary, Enrollsy has experience switching Childcare Manager customers over. We can help you make the transition and we are confident you and your customers will love the difference. One thing I failed to mention is that we will do all the data importing for you, which is not an easy thing to do considering the state of the data when it comes out of Childcare Manager. That alone will be worth your first few years of working with Enrollsy!