Before this project was launched, careful consideration was given to answering the question, ‘How could the internet add value to the Russian Language Centre?’ To answer this question, research was conducted in the following areas; Branding, Reducing Costs, Increasing Sales and Automating Systems. The output of that research is shown in the following areas:
Lesson Bookings, Administration and Payment
The provision of group and individual lessons is a core service and the main cash generator. Quick, easy to use online systems enable students to gather information, make informed decisions on lesson options, book places and make payment with minimal intervention from the company. The provision of detailed and up to date information is essential to this process and reduces the need for students to contact administrators. All booking information is securely stored and made available to class administrators which minimises paperwork saving both time and money. Linking bookings to a payment system increases cash flow, ensures all lesson bookings are genuine and eliminates ‘no shows’.
Student Management and Communications
Automated student communications with intervention when bookings fall outside set parameters, increases client confidence in processes and reduces demands on staff time. The system also enables retrieval of student records, learning progress and contact details, and provides for individual, group or bulk communication by email. This feature could be used to remind students about forthcoming exams, social activities or for promotional purposes.
The ecommerce facility was created primarily to speed-up payment for lessons and exams, but was extended to include payment for membership to the social club, purchasing of learning materials and to a Russian Language Centre shop selling Russian cultural items. The ecommerce facility is a new area of income for the company which is growing month on month.
The site has been structured to reflect the company’s core purpose, the provision of Russian Language Lessons. The site has been built in such a way as to attract people interested in Russian Language Learning and Russian Culture and to encourage them to book lessons with the Russian Language Centre. All additional services and features are presented to enhance rather than obscure the lesson service.
Content Management System
An extensive content management system has been integrated with a lesson booking system, a student management system and an ecommerce system all provided through one interface which allows for the complete control of all information presented on the site. As all four systems are presented through one interface administrators only have to login once to have full access. This integration of backend systems has the added advantage of merging updates into all systems, so that changes in the CMS, filter into the booking and ecommerce systems and then into individual student records when booking are made.