Software is supposed to make things easier. But sometimes, parts of a recreation software system can hinder an organization’s ability to successfully achieve its goals. If you and your staff are spending more time on the day-to-day tasks and less on building a healthier and better community, your recreation software may be holding you back.
Do any of these signs ring a bell?
1. It’s hard for customers to register and participate
More than 75% of Americans use the internet. They scan, read, search, buy, and register. Are you allowing people in your community to find and sign up for your programs online?
Online registration makes program accessibility and participation easier for your customers and staff. Both sides save time so they can focus on more important things than long lines during registration periods.
2. The software doesn’t help you grow registrations/participation
What kind of marketing tools does your software offer? If emailing is the only tool and it’s cumbersome to use, you’re missing out on tools that could help you increase participation. Brochure creation and email list segmenting should be part of the software so your data ties into your marketing. Also, your software partner should provide social media tips, workshops, and templates to make sure you’re getting the most out of the newest trends.
3. The system is not user friendly
Is your current recreation software hard to use? It shouldn’t take months for new staff members to get used to it and you shouldn’t feel like you’re decoding something with all of the abbreviations scattered throughout the system. A recreation software system should look and feel like other programs you are used to and should be written in plain language so it’s quick to learn and easy to use.
4. Updates are expensive and you’re a few behind
Let’s say you want to add online registration and upgrade to the latest version of software. Would it cost you $15,000 or more? What would the process involve? If you’d have to upgrade one level at a time and install the versions on each computer, this process is probably too time-consuming for your IT department and expensive for Finance.
With hosted technology, you can add online registration and the latest version with fewer costs and in less time. Adding a new module is like flipping a switch and updates are made automatically. That way, you can meet your customers’ needs while using the time and money for other initiatives like meeting the programming needs of seniors.
5. You don’t have immediate access to your system from anywhere
Is your recreation software installed on your workstations? If so, you can only access the recreation software from those computers. This means that you can’t pull reports from home and only a certain amount of staff members can use the system at one time. This non-hosted approach limits your organization.
With hosted technology, you can access the system securely from any computer over the internet. More users can be in the system at once and you can work from anywhere at any time. Pull reports from home or take registrations on the soccer field, for example.
6. You’re spending time double-checking the accuracy of automated reports
Do you keep separate Excel sheets to double check against the financial reports from your recreation software? Your reporting system should be consistent and accurate so you don’t have to spend time making sure it all adds up. Consistent data allows you to understand the big picture and use the numbers to improve everything from program offerings and scheduling to facility usages.
7. You spend too much time and money on computer software and PCI compliance
Does your recreation software run on its own server that you have to maintain? This makes life hard for the IT department. With one server devoted to one application, your department is spending too much on hardware and maintenance just to make sure it runs the way it should.
Also, if you host your recreation software internally, PCI Compliance (a set of industry security standards that organizations processing payments are held to) and fines may be your responsibility. Having everything with one vendor takes the responsibility out of your court so you can focus your resources on improving accessibility to your programs.
With hosted (cloud) software, you don’t need a server and can do away with the maintenance fees and PCI responsibilities. That makes your IT and finance departments happy and allows you to devote more time and money to things like improving programming for your community.
8. When you need support, you play the waiting game
Does your recreation provider offer good support? Response time should be an important factor in grading support. If it takes days to get issues resolved your ability to serve the community is affected. Make sure your software partner has a dedicated support team, separate from sales and development, so that you can get the answers you need on time. If they do not provide that, you’ll waste precious days on issue resolution.
Did any of these eight issues sound familiar? If so, your current software could be more of a hurdle than a vehicle in pursuit of your organization’s goals. Hosted recreation systems can not only save you time and money, but also offer better experiences for both your customers and staff.