Why we Slowed Down our School Management System App Launch
In early February 2020, we launched our highly anticipated EngagePlusApp for both iOS and Android devices. This was an important move in terms of launching an entirely new school management software app, so, in order to ensure that things went properly, and bugs were detected before a widescale launch, we kept the launch relatively quiet.
The EngagePlusApp allows parents to view their schedules anytime in the palm of their hands and to be able to plan their family’s often complicated logistics much more smoothly. It also allows parents to register and pay for classes instantly by seeing open slots at their respective learning centers and to enroll without the need for any administrator assistance.
So why did we purposely keep the launch limited in scale? Because we were anticipating that this would have the potential to create a very significant (though positive) change in customer behavior—something for which we did not want to become a problem. The potential for a problem would have nothing to do with the great benefits of the technology, but rather the systemic adaptations for the learning centers that were liberating the fantastic technology.
This may seem like a strange situation. Why, for instance, would anybody, school or customer, want EngagePlus to create a tool for simplicity and then withhold it? Because it could actually be too simple for the customers. This would cause a knock-on effect of having an inflow of enrollments and new bookings from existing customers that they would not have had the capacity to handle.
Here’s our reasoning: On average, learning centers in Hong Kong have growth trends that begin with extremely high-percentage month-over-month growth when they open (call that period ‘launch’) on a diminishing curve that is inversely related to the enrollment numbers growth curve. This is normal. From there, a center’s numbers begin to plateau (call that what it is, a ‘plateau’), at which point everything is stabilized from a business and operational model. During the plateau period, a center is stable and is always pushing for growth with diminishing returns due to diminishing capacity. This may sound negative, but the truth is that it is actually a great problem for them to have.
When a school has plateaued, spikes in student attendance and enrollment tend to actually increase stress and demand on the teachers, while also often causing administrative bottlenecks that the schools are not able to handle easily nor gracefully. While the EngagePlus education operations management system (EOMS) handles the administrative tasks seamlessly, the added pressure and shifting of the teachers’ schedules can be problematic, especially if the spike is particularly large.
The EngagePlusApp offered a platform for customers to reduce virtually every friction point in the transaction, meaning that they could increase their enrollments in droves. With the potential problems listed above in mind, we did a limited release across a few of our clients’ centers. It turned out that our predictions were correct in how simple and seamless the process would be, thus leading to a significant spike.
In mid-April, once the EngagePlusApp had been road-tested in small batches, we worked with one of our biggest clients to encourage some of their customers to use it for their bookings and transactions. On 22 April 2020—the day after announcing to their customers—the EngagePlusApp rocketed up from a ranking of #703 in the App Store to #26, due to an enormous number of downloads and transactions in the app for our selected launch centers.
We’re extremely happy with the results that the EngagePlusApp has produced and we’re excited to continue rolling it out to more of our clients. If our experience thus far has taught us and our clients anything, it’s that everyone should be in a position to handle the extra demand on their centers once they’ve announced and encouraged the use of the EngagePlusApp.
It’s an enormous step forward in Hong Kong’s education sector, especially during this Covid-19 period, and we can’t wait for other centers and customers to integrate it into their daily routines. All we can say is: get ready! Learn more about it at www.engageplus.io!