Administrate customer Future Environment Designs (FED) is an authorised OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) compliance, certified Asbestos, Mold and Indoor Air Quality training company providing training to corporate customers in and around New York.
Life Before Administrate
Established in 1988, FED have long struggled with the manual administration of their training programme, having tried multiple pieces of software and systems over the years. Most recently, they used Microsoft Access, then Act! CRM, alongside Google Calendars. Company owner, Angelo Garcia III, laments;
"Before we had no way for people to register online. Registration was a phone call into the office or letting us know via email which classes they wanted to register for - it was a lot more manual!"
Despite efforts to merge everything, they quickly discovered that the off-the-shelf database systems they were evaluating didn't allow this, they just weren't robust enough to handle the large volume of information that they were creating day-to-day.
They needed a single, consolidated, system that would handle anything and everything they threw at it and allow them to scale their business. Enter Administrate.
One System for Everything!
One of the main motivations for FED was finding a system to manage their entire training operation and save them time on some of the more manual tasks. Angelo notes;
"We were looking for a software package that would basically merge everything. Administrate did that and had the ability to automate our processes, that's what really attracted me."
Setting up the software was straightforward for FED and Angelo was glowing in his praise for our support and implementation team;
"...the support process was excellent. I don't think I've ever had that kind of support with anything else I've dealt with; really happy with them"
So, in the three months that Future Environment Designs have been using Administrate, what have they found particularly useful?
Reduction in Admin
The time saving that Administrate affords its customers through automating tasks and software efficiency is proving hugely beneficial to FED. Administrate was able to handle all their existing database entries for students and courses, assisting with the migration from their legacy systems. Alongside this, Administrate has helped simplify the process of course and student profile creation;
"New classes and registrations are a lot more simple now. We just have to enter two pieces of information for each student and boom, we're done"
FED had many challenges to overcome with course scheduling, but none that Administrate couldn't handle. Three of their biggest challenges were;
- They needed to quickly understand their instructor and course availability to best accommodate their customer base's ever-changing schedules. A long established business that offers annual certification training, FED know their customers will very likely return, but not exactly when. Administrate's calendar view affords them the transparency of knowing the availability of courses, appointments, resources and instructors all in a single place.
- Using Google Calendars often resulted in students missing classes due to time zone confusion. Not knowing what each students' computer timezone was set to (e.g. Eastern Standard Time, Pacific Standard Time etc.) often resulted in students arriving late for courses. This wasn't a problem for Administrate - you can set up courses with multiple time zones so it's always clear for students.
- The flexibility of course setup was also paramount for FED. Often they need to set up training sessions split across two weeks, for example on a Monday, Tuesday one week then Thursday, Friday the following week. Google Calendars couldn't handle that without awkward workarounds. As Angelo notes, Administrate;
"...allows to you to edit sessions separately so I could do something like that, right off the bat."
A Flexible, Scalable CRM
Having previously used Microsoft Access and Act!, and knowing the complexities involved in merging systems and importing data, FED were relieved to find that Administrate's importing tools handles all this for you;
"Your system handled the complicated parts very well. We're thrilled with it"
They also needed a much greater level of flexibility from their CRM moving forward, having struggled with the rigidity of CRM systems they'd tried before.
Being training focused, we understand the need to have both company and student profiles, alongside custom fields so that you can capture non-standard information that's important to your business. That level of flexibility is something that we pride ourselves on and we were delighted that Angelo agreed;
"It really shows in the software, that ability to be flexible - it's extremely flexible."
By their own admission, FED only had time for limited communication with customers before implementing Administrate;
"Once a person was registered for a course, we sent them an email to say 'you're registered' and that was it".
Since implementing Administrate, they've been using Communication Triggers to automatically remind a student that he/she is attending a class two days before, sharing valuable details like the date, location, time and instructor. They're looking forward to adding more automated communications in the future to help further improve the student experience.
Online Course Ordering
Historically, FED's payment setup was all invoice based, those registered on classes would be sent an invoice to pay in advance or they'd pay on the day of the class.
Now setup with online course registration and the ability to take payment through their website, Angelo is delighted;
"They can see all the classes they're looking for all at one time - online registration and payment is a big advantage"
Three months into using Administrate, and it's 'so far, so good' as far as Angelo's concerned;
"Administrate's very good. It's been exactly as billed, a very useful training tool."
Angelo's next big push is to get his customers self-registering through Administrate on the FED website. Being a very well established business, with a loyal customer-base used to registering over the phone and by email, it's a challenge that will span some months, but as Angelo notes;
"...once we get our students to self register it'll save a tonne of time"
Most of FED's training is tightly regulated by the US Government, making the use of eLearning challenging - how do you guarantee that those completing eLearning courses are indeed the actual learners and not surrogates? However, Angelo believes there's still scope for it's use as an added value for FED customers and is keen to get started using Administrate's LMS to create supplementary courses as part of a blended learning approach to his training.
Finally, Angelo's looking forward to attending Administrate's second annual EdTech conference, LITE 2016, on September 22-23;
"I'm very much looking forward to going to LITE. I think I'm going to get so many more ideas how to use the system to better serve my clients"
This personable New Yorker is also a big fan of Scottish culture, referring to himself in jest as 'Angelo McGarcia', so will be making the most of LITE 2016's enviable location, taking some extra days to explore Scotland!
Inspired by Future Environment Design's story? Why not register for a demo and let one of the Administrate team show you how we can help your training business. Or if you'd prefer to dive straight in, sign up for a free trial!