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How would you feel about Tutorful staff booking in lessons?

Hey Guys!

Hope you’re all well and not melting in this heat. :sunny:

I’m posting this evening to get some opinions and feedback from you guys regarding members of Tutorful staff booking you in with new students.

We are currently running a sales trial within the company, where students who aren’t wanting to browse through our tutors will give us a call and all their requirements to find the perfect tutor for them. These students and parents are looking for us to do the work for them and book them in for free video chats and lessons with tutors over the phone when they call. A stumbling block that we have reached is that students are dropping off and not coming back to Tutorful once their call has ended because we’re waiting to hear back from the tutor to see if they are happy for us to book the lesson in.

My question is, would you be happy for Tutorful staff to book in a student and have them committed to Tutorful and a lesson with yourself without checking with you first if this was a slot that you had available on your availability calendar? You’d still have your message thread with them, your lesson would be confirmed when the student called us so you’d have their phone number too to ask any questions you may have beforehand, and of course, if it turns out that you aren’t quite right for them, you could cancel the lesson too.

I understand that there is a question of whether or not you’ll be right to help the student, but generally, with all their requirements given to us over the phone, we have a pretty good idea as to which tutors will be able to help them. This obviously becomes more complicated when you get up to A-Level and Degree level subjects and specific modules, so we wouldn’t do this for those kinds of enquiries.

I also understand the scores implications if a student wasn’t quite right for you and you had to cancel the lesson and the team would be able to make sure those enquiries were not affecting your scores going forward as we’d be monitoring the success of these lesson bookings.

It also throws up questions as to how often tutors update their availability calendar as I know some people update them almost daily and some leave it up as general availability.

Don’t worry, I’m in no way saying that this is definitely going to happen, it’s an idea that we are thinking about to help us get our high-quality tutors more students! I would love to hear your guys’ thoughts, so thank you in advance.

4 Likes

I would like this and fully support the idea. I would recommend making it opt-in though, and a minimum notice period (eg 24h). Maybe some way of giving preferred times as well instead of any available.

2 Likes

I would also be up for this provided some notice and O would like some information about the needs of the student.

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I would be happy with this, but as others have said though, of course some notice before the lesson and it shouldn’t affect the booking score.

I would also really like to see the availability functionality improved, for example syncing google calendars or just easier input then I would use this feature much more, especially if I knew students were using it too

How are students matched to tutors? Is there some criteria other than just matching on the subject and availability?

5 Likes

In principle it’s a great idea since it seems it would solve the issue described of losing some clients who just want to be given a tutor rather than select it themselves.

However I agree with everyone in this thread that the execution of this functionality is important. It should be opt-in. It should perhaps have its own interaction with the calendar so a tutor who opts-in can select certain times they would be happy for a lesson to be booked by tutorful. I also agree that in general the calendar should be improved. It is cumbersome to update it, especially when sometimes a student I have who isn’t on tutorful changes a lesson slot for one week and then a new client on tutorful happens to appear wanting that slot etc. Julia’s suggestion of syncing with other calendars would be perfect. However at least giving tutors the option to select which of their free slots would be available for this new functionality would be workable because then tutors could know to avoid putting students who happen to want a one-off lesson time change in those slots.

I tutor A level only and I think I would like this feature, so perhaps consider not closing it off for A level tutors.

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I agree with @JoeL entirely, and just want to put my own backing behind making it available to A Level as well. In my own experience I don’t see why it would work for GCSE but not A Level. Degree is a very different beast of course, but I think there could be some benefit here too. I regularly get students asking for help with a very specific topic that I simply don’t have expertise in, so a list of topics to match degree students to tutors could be something to consider.

1 Like

I can see this is a creative solution to a an ongoing issue - I think many tutors would really like it!

Maybe I’m a bit of a ‘control-freak’ but my gut reaction is a little shaky on this one. I really like being in control of my availability - sometimes my availability calendar doesn’t reflect other one-off or short term commitments I have. I also really like to get a ‘feel’ for the parent / student in those first few messages, I find it helps manage expectations for any sessions booked.

I reckon it would be great as an ‘opt-in’ feature - I think, given time, and seeing how it works for those that try it, I may well come round to the idea :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

6 Likes

Agree with a lot of the above, and see the main issue as the calendar as it is quite flawed currently - we only have the option to input a generic weekly availability that then gets portrayed on our profile under a specific date and replicated across multiple weeks - a recipe for confusion!

Making sure we have enough time to chat to the parent/student before the lesson and then being able to cancel pentalty free also seems important.

3 Likes

Probably going to be a lone wolf in opposition here but I would not be happy with that at all. I want for my time to be “wanted” if that makes sense and I’d like to think that parents would do due diligence when scouting out the tutor for them - in fact it blows my mind that there are certain students that are not willing to browse through tutors to find the tutor for them.

I can see why people are for it but I currently have no qualms with how the process is conducted currently (could be bias on my end).

3 Likes

Perhaps some parents probably have the tutoring agency model in mind - where a tutor is just assigned by an agency?

I get what you’re saying though, parents have a lot of useful data about tutors here, it makes sense for them to use it!

It’s good you make it clear you wouldn’t want this feature, as that adds weight to the importance of it being opt-in.

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I’m kind of with @Rosie_A and @Basmati64 here - more against than for if I’m being honest. At the moment, my availability is all over the place, so it’s not ideal, but maybe once things have settled down in September it will be better.

3 Likes

I am more inclined against this at the moment. I like to be in complete control of my schedule and to be able to properly prepare for every lesson, especially for new students. However, provided the scores are not negatively impacted by cancelled lessons, I could be won over, especially once my availability is fixed again. Like others, my availability changes week to week at the moment, and just because I am ‘available’ does not mean that I want all slots filled. I try to leave multiple slots free so that students have a choice of times and days, including if they need to reschedule.

7 Likes

I agree with this 100%. It’s pretty hard to fill out the availability at the moment since I’m not tutoring full time anymore, and I leave more availability than I actually want to be booked, and I like to leave some time between classes too.

I have nothing against classes being booked in but we definitely need some notice and I would really like to see some improvement in the time entry system in general.

It usually uses the time on my phone which might be different to the regular time zone, I would really like to just be able to book classes and fill everything out in uk time and please not using my phone time and phone language :sweat_smile:

2 Likes

I wouldn’t be too keen on this. I like to have a conversation with my students just to make sure that we are on the same page, and they I am the right teacher for them and that they are a student that I am happy to teach.
I’m all for this being an option, but I wouldn’t choose to use it.

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Thank you everyone for your feedback and input! Some really interesting points made, I definitely think that should this be something that we do add to the site in future, it would be opt-in only as I understand that some tutors prefer to pick their students a little more and may not keep their availability up to date. There would also definitely need to be a minimum notice period to allow you time to get prepared and have those chats beforehand if needed.

I know that there are some improvements to be made to the availability calendar, so I’ve passed this feedback onto the product team that this is something that would need to happen for us to go forward with this idea.

As I said, no plans to implement this in the near future, I just wanted to get your insight as you would be the ones impacted! It’s been really helpful to hear your feedback, so thank you very much for participating in this thread. :blush:

2 Likes

Hey Julia, sorry I didn’t respond to this in my previous reply!

We match students based on a few bits of information that they give us, including the subject, level, their budget, availability and any extra criteria that they may have, such as a DBS check, QTS or a specific exam board that they are studying. We use this information in tandem with our personal knowledge of the tutors that we have on the site!

Thanks.

The idea sounds good. As has been said, book when tutors are available and if the tutor cancels, it shouldn’t affect their booking score. Also, the calendar should be synced with Google Calendar.

I agree tutors should be able to opt out of this option.

I like the idea of Tutorful staff recruiting students to tutors directly, but I have yet to experience this personally.
I do not agree with the idea of students being booked in for me without prior notice (>24 hours), and without my ability to accept/reject the request in confirmation without it affecting my score.

I used to get messages from you saying a student wants a lesson and I always reply within minutes to these.

I prefer a message from you because I work other income streams and have a very full dairy for other commitments.

24 hours notice would be awful for me. It would need to be at least 72 hours to a week.

I find I’m not getting any new student bookings at present anyway despite having my calendar always up to date.

I prefer to be in charge of my own workload just because it is very complex.

3 Likes

Hi,

Far from making this easier I can only see this creating more workload, slower response times and adding unecessary workload for tutors and staff. Personally, as I understand the suggestion, it would also reduce the freedom of tutors to change bookings easily and respond efficiently to the needs of students as they see best.

In my experience, parents have valued being able to arrange sessions directly and liase with me as a tutor.

I have also found the calender has flaws and can cause confusion for both parties. However while the calender system is a useful guide to availability, it is not flexible enough to take over from a tutor making a booking in my view. I would strongly be against tutoring if someone else booked my sessions on here as it would make my job harder.

Speaking only for myself here, I think it’s a case of if it isn’t broke, dont fix it…

Thanks for asking though, appreciate it!