In 2016 St Edmund's College appointed Redwing to build a first online booking system for its successful summer school. The summer school itself was thriving but the administrative workload arising from paper forms and data-entry was stifling. By moving to Redwing's Resirva eBooking system, which works equally well for summer schools and language schools, the college replaced mounds of paper with a dynamic easy-to-use online system fully integrated with their website.
The investment in technology has revolutionised things both for the college and its customers so, in the aftermath of their first 'online' summer, we put some questions to St Edmund’s Summer School Director, Lee Hawkes, for his take on the quantum leap forward.
Redwing: What are the most important benefits of the online booking solution for the St Edmund’s summer school?
Lee Hawkes: Having the online booking system in place helps in three key ways: speed, accuracy and workload. Previously people signing up to the summer school would fill in hard copy sheets and all of that data would need to be manually entered into a database. That data entry process in itself was time-consuming and prone to human error, as was the operation of the database. The current system saves all of that which lessens the administrative workload.
RW: How has the requirement for digital around the summer school changed over the past 5-10 years?
LH: When we started out, eBooking systems were still relatively new but nowadays more and more customers expect digital enrollment. It's become a way for them to better manage their time and access information and if you don’t have it, you risk coming across as archaic and putting people off. The current booking engine has streamlined our administrative processes and also lends a modern look and feel to the college’s web page.
RW: And how has it helped the whole summer school experience for parents and customers?
LH: The booking process before the summer is now far more information-driven than it used to be because we can provide customers with one place to access all the information we need to give them. Before, with the hard copy application form, they would give us all their information ‘in one go’ and we would have to do the same. Now they have the facility to complete the process over time in a more iterative way, even going in and making corrections if they need to, and we have the ability to make resources and information available to them to view or download. It's revolutionised the experience from both sides.
RW: For you, what is the role of a good digital agency in helping you achieve what you need?
LH: For us it's taking the time to understand how we operate and what our ethos is, and then being reactive to our changing needs. We've just had a very positive summer school experience using the online booking system for the first time. Inevitably there's been some feedback and we're just entering into our second year with Redwing and looking forward to ironing out any small kinks to make things even better ahead of summer 2018!