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ChildCareCRM™ Self-Scheduled Tours Overview 

Scheduling a tour is one of the most important steps in the parent journey at a childcare center.  Inconveniently, parents are normally restricted to doing so only during center business hours, or with telephone or email back-and-forth over a period of hours or days.  Eliminating the hassle of scheduling tours with ChildCareCRM’s Self-Scheduled Tours contributes to more tours, higher conversion rates, and better parent experience, and it frees busy center staff (or enrollment team members) for other activities.

As parents explore the center online, the option to choose a tour time then and there – not merely a form to initiate contact about scheduling a tour – is offered on the website.  Important lead and child information is captured and sent to ChildCareCRM during the process so that center staff are well-prepared to welcome the lead upon arrival.  Immediately after booking, parents receive a confirmation with the tour time, center name and address, and contact information, and optionally text and email reminders later.  As a precursor, organization-level staff specify when and how many tours are regularly available, manage exceptions, and control other parameters to make the flow of tours manageable throughout the day.  Center staff can view the tour calendar in ChildCareCRM and, if granted appropriate system privileges, easily modify availability.

Step 1:  CCCRM Activates Feature Set

Settings > Extra Settings > Self-Scheduled Tours 

Contact ChildCareCRM’s Customer Success Team either through the chat feature withinChildCareCRM, or by emailing support@childcarecrm.com or support@childcarecrm.com.au (depending on your country) to: 

  • request activation of the Self-Scheduled Tours feature set
  • guide you through setup
  • offer best practices around settings and recommended content for automated text and email communication to leads. 

You will know it has been enabled when you see Self-Scheduled Tours information in the Extra Settings area of the Settings tab (Fig. 1).

Step 2:  Set Up Center Privileges 

Settings > Staff Settings > System Privileges > [Select User] 

Privileges to modify tour dates are assignable to specific roles at the discretion of the organization.  Check “Edit Location Daily Tour Availabilities” to grant rights to modify tour availability on specific dates.  This privilege does not grant access to the Weekly Template or other Self-Scheduled Tour settings, which are reserved for organization-level users.

Step 3:  Tour Settings 

Settings > Extra Settings > Self-Scheduled Tours > Tour Settings 

Tour Settings allows you to control exactly when tours are made available, their duration, lead time and buffers, and what communications are sent to staff and leads when.

Begin by selecting a location to setup (fig. 3) or selecting a region or corporate, etc., if you are a corporate user and want to do setup for multiple locations at once (fig. 4).

The Tour Settings wizard walks you through your options.  The steps appear in sequence across the top of the wizard.  Throughout the wizard, click Next to go to the next step, Back to go backwards one step, or Reset to clear changes and start over.  Clicking Finish at the end of the wizard is imperative to save your settings.

Step 3.1:  Tour Settings - Intro

Settings > Extra Settings > Self-Scheduled Tours > Tour Settings > Intro 

The Intro tab will display the current settings for the feature (fig. 5 for a single location, fig. 6 for multiple). At the initial setup, only the center’s business hours will appear, taken from View Location (Settings > Organization Settings > Locations). After the initial setup, all the active tour settings will display at this step.  

(If working on multiple sites, you can check the sites you want to be affected by the settings you’re about to set up, and uncheck any sites you want to remain unchanged.)

Step 3.2: Tour Settings – General Availability

Settings > Extra Settings > Self-Scheduled Tours > Tour Settings > General Availability 

Choose what days of the week tours are generally available. Specify when the earliest tour of the week can start and what time the latest tour of the week must end. You will make refinements to the days of the week and to specific dates in subsequent steps.

Step 3.3: Tour Settings – Tour Types

Settings > Extra Settings > Self-Scheduled Tours > Tour Settings > Tour Types 

Select Single Family tours if your location offers them (nearly all do). You can also schedule multi-family tours. If you select multi-family tours, you will be asked to specify the maximum number of families that may tour as a single group. Multi-family tours are specified as such on the parent-facing portion of this feature so that nobody is surprised.

Most centers offer only one tour at a time. However, staffing and demand may permit multiple, independent tours to run simultaneously or overlap at certain times or all the time at some locations. Choose how many separate tours are offered at the same time. Self-Scheduled Tours does not permit single-family and multi-family tours to overlap.

Step 3.4: Tour Settings – Tour Length & Increment

Settings > Extra Settings > Self-Scheduled Tours > Tour Settings > Tour Length & Increment 

Select tour duration for single family tours as 30, 60, or 90 minutes. If your typical tour length is between these settings, choose the next highest duration. Group tour duration will also appear if this tour type was enabled in the previous step.

Select whether tours may only start on the hour (e.g. 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, etc.) or on the hour and half-hour (e.g. 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30, etc.)

Selecting a buffer of 30 or 60 minutes ensures that tours are not offered back-to-back without a break, but a buffer does limit the number of possible tours in a day.

Step 3.5: Tour Settings – Lead Time

Settings > Extra Settings > Self-Scheduled Tours > Tour Settings > Lead Time 

A lead time setting helps ensure that center staff have adequate time to prepare for a tour. Indicate the least amount of time in advance that a lead can book a tour in business hours. Business hours does not count hours outside the operating hours of your center. For example, if you specify four hours, it is currently 5:00PM on Friday, and your center closes at 7:00PM and reopens at 6:00AM Monday, then the earliest tour available to a lead would be the first available tour after 8:00AM Monday. Two more business hours were available Friday, then two more on Monday morning had to pass to fulfill the four-hour requirement.

Also select how many weeks in advance a lead can book a tour, from one to six weeks. Choose a lower number if your tour schedule is subject to frequent changes or if you do not want to risk a lead growing cold. Offer longer advance times if you wish to allow parents to plan further in advance or if your available tour slots tend to fill up quickly.

Step 3.6: Tour Settings – Notifications & Reminders

Settings > Extra Settings > Self-Scheduled Tours > Tour Settings > Notifications & Reminders 

Specify whether you want email and/or text notifications to staff upon the self-scheduling of a tour and the hours during which those notifications can be sent. Notifications are sent at the first permissible opportunity after a tour is self-scheduled. 

You can also set email and/or text reminders for staff and/or parents a certain number of minutes, hours, or days before the tour is scheduled to help ensure the parents keep their appointment and the staff are prepared.

The actual staff notifications, staff reminders, and lead reminders, both text and email, can be viewed and edited at Settings > System Settings > Reminders. Set up as templates, recommended messages are already included but can be edited if desired. It is essential that instructions to contact the center if the lead should need to reschedule or cancel remain in place. See Reminders for more information.

Step 3.7: Tour Settings – Weekly Template

Settings > Extra Settings > Self-Scheduled Tours > Tour Settings > Weekly Template 

(Note that this step only applies when working on an individual location. The bulk setup wizard skips this step.)

At this step of the wizard, you will see the repeating weekly schedule you have built. You may wish to make refinements to the days, here. For example, Wednesdays may have different tour availability than other days. Perhaps some days have two or more time ranges with breaks between when no tours are offered. 

Click the blue pencil to modify a day (Fig. 12). Modify a time range from the drop downs or delete with the red x (Fig. 13). Add a time range by clicking “Add Time Range” (Figs. 13-14). Click Save (Fig. 14). The weekly template now reflects your changes (Fig. 15).

Step 3.8: Tour Settings – Weekly Template: Tour Series

Settings > Extra Settings > Self-Scheduled Tours > Tour Settings > Weekly Template 

This section is relevant only for simultaneous/overlapping single-family tours and multi-family tours.

Manage simultaneous/overlapping tours and multifamily tours on the Weekly Template as “Tour Series.” 

If you enabled two (or three) simultaneous/overlapping tours in the Tour Types step of Tour Settings, these are managed as overlapping Tour Series. Single Family Series 1 is the base. Single Family Series 2 (and 3) are tour possibilities in addition to the base. For example, if you offer tours M-F 8:00AM to 6:00PM with the possibility of two tours at a time on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00AM to noon, then set up Tour Series 1 for M-F from 8 to 6, and Tour Series 2 for Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 to noon.

Multi-family tours, if enabled, appear on their own weekly calendar at the bottom of the Weekly Template, which will initially be empty. Edit a day or days to add a time range for multi-family tours. 

NOTE: Multi-family tours are not permitted by the system to overlap with single family tours.

Step 3.9: Tour Settings – Confirmation

Settings > Extra Settings > Self-Scheduled Tours > Tour Settings > Confirmation 

This step displays your settings on one screen (fig. 17 for the single location wizard, fig. 18 for the bulk setup wizard). 

IMPORTANT: Click “FINISH” to save your changes. You can also choose to go “Back” to make revisions to previous steps or “Reset” to revert to the last saved settings.

Step 4: Set Up Location Calendar 

Step 4.1: Set Up Location Calendar – View Dates

Settings > Extra Settings > Self-Scheduled Tours > View Dates 

View Dates displays a calendar of time ranges in each series as well as all scheduled tours. Here, modify individual dates that vary from the weekly pattern created in Tour Settings. For example, the center may close for holidays or inclement weather, or tours may not be offered when a state agency visits. 

On the monthly view:

  • Single Family Series are numbered, and each time range is displayed separately. 
  • Multi-family tours are market with an “M” in the blue circle and an orange multi-family icon. 
  • Scheduled tours are displayed on their appropriate dates.
  • Blue dates indicate days when tours are available, but none are scheduled.
  • Green days indicate tour availability and booked tours.
  • Orange dates indicate that all available tours are filled up.
  • White indicates a day when tours are not offered.

Scroll through months – up to a year ahead – with the arrows on top of the calendar to the left.

Toggle from the month to today’s date view with the Month/Day toggle on top of the calendar to the right.

Click a date for a detailed view and to edit.

Step 4.2: Set Up Location Calendar – View Dates: Modify Specific Dates

Settings > Extra Settings > Self-Scheduled Tours > View Dates > [Select Date] 

To modify tour availability on a specific date, click to the desired month, then click the date you wish to modify.

Scheduled Tours appear in the far-right column.

(Single family tours are divided into their respective series columns if simultaneous tours are permitted in Tour Settings. Multi-family tours appear in their own column.)

To delete a time range, click the red X.

To change the beginning of a time range, click and drag the entire range. 

To change the end of a time range, hover over the bottom on the range until a white double arrow appears. Click and drag the bottom up or down. The top of the range will not move.

To create a new time range, click on the start time and drag to the end time on an unscheduled space. Clicking and dragging creates a light blue area which turns gray when the mouse (or touchpad) button is released.

NOTE: Changing tour availability DOES NOT affect scheduled tours. A reassuring alert appears when modifying availability on a date when a tour is scheduled. If a scheduled tour needs to be cancelled or moved by the center, it must be done via conventional communication with the lead and manual action in ChildCareCRM, just as with center-booked (or enrollment team-booked) tours. 

Step 5: Set Up Tour Booking Form 

Settings > Organization Settings > Forms > Add Tour Booking Form 

Creating a Self-Scheduled Tour web form is a necessary step in setting up Self-Scheduled Tours. 

  1. Click “Add Self-Scheduled Tour Form.” 
  2. Select the fields you desire parents to see and complete. 
  3. Rename any fields if desired. 
  4. Select mandatory fields. 
  5. Save the form. 

Step 5.1: Set Up Tour Booking Forms – Review Public-Facing Form

Settings > Organization Settings > Forms > View Form 

Click “Click Here to Review Form.” Review the parent-facing tour-booking form to see how available tour times are presented and how leads may enter information. (Note that these forms may be embedded in your website and styled to match OR may appear to the public as they are here, through the URL link. See “Step 6: Embed or Link to Forms” in this feature documentation.)

In the public view, gray times are unavailable due to bookings or removal of the range from availability. The green time is selected by the parent during a self-booking. The example note in the header was added after clicking “Click Here to Edit Form Text & Logo” in the CRM Tour Booking Form screen. 

Selecting a time calls up lead and child input (Fig. 28). The fields shown here were customized in the Tour Booking Form. Red asterisks indicate required fields and must be completed before the form can be submitted. A parent can click +ADD CHILD to add a second or subsequent children.

Clicking SUBMIT (Fig. 30) displays this confirmation (Fig. 31). Notifications and Reminders specified in Tour Settings (Fig. 11) provide complete information, including instructions for rescheduling or cancelling (Fig. 37).

Step 6: Embed or Link to Forms 

Settings > Forms > [Select Tour Booking Form] > Embed > Embed Code 

Settings > Forms > [Select Tour Booking Form] > Embed > Share Link

The tour booking form and parent calendar must either be embedded in the center’s website or offered as a link. This step is necessary to set up Self-Scheduled Tours.

To obtain the embed code for the center’s website, click Embed (Fig. 32) and copy the code for the header and the body (Fig. 33). Instead, you may wish to coordinate with your web developer or IT administrator.

The embedded form can be manually styled to match your website, or your website or content management system may style the form automatically.

Alternatively, click Share Link (Fig. 34) and specify a location to obtain the URL for the Self-Scheduled Tour parent calendar and form that you may use on your website and in communication with your leads.

Step 7: Perform Tour Tasks 

Step 7.1: Perform Tour Tasks – Location Tour Calendar

Home > (Choose Location) > Select Self-Scheduled Tour Calendar Icon 

At the location level, the Self-Scheduled Tour calendar icon appears in the header when Self-Scheduled Tours is enabled. Click the icon to view all scheduled tours and tour availability. This calendar will appear and function just as the calendar does in View Dates (Fig. 18). Refer to that section in this documentation for complete details. Only staff with the “Edit Location Daily Tour Availabilities” system privilege in their profile may modify tour availability (Fig. 2).

Self-scheduled tours also appear in the Tour & Meeting Schedule widget, along with any manually scheduled tours and meetings.

Step 7.2: Perform Tour Tasks – Managing Tasks

Home > Tasks  

When a parent or guardian self-schedules a tour, that person enters ChildCareCRM as a lead at the Tour Scheduled status. Click Tasks on the Home screen to see the list of tasks. Or click Tour Scheduled on the home screen bar graph to see leads with scheduled tours. Clicking the lead’s name opens the Manage Lead screen with all pertinent information and communications.

  • When a self-scheduled tour enters the system as a potential duplicate, it appears as a Pending Lead and requires action. Merge the lead if a duplicate, and the original lead will automatically go to Tour Scheduled status, while the other record will be discarded. 
  • Accept the lead if not a duplicate, and the lead will automatically go to Tour Scheduled status. 
  • Reject the lead if appropriate and specify the reason.

Below is Roz Ray’s self-scheduled tour in the Task view on the Home screen that was selected in the Review Self-Scheduled Tour Form example in this documentation (Figs. 26-30).

Customary tour tasks and communication are automatic. Click an item (Fig. 38) to review; or view/add other lead management and marketing tasks (Fig. 37).

Step 8: Report and Analyze

Reports > Various 

Self-Scheduled Tour leads will be tagged automatically with “Self-Scheduled Tour” as the inquiry source. These are some of the reports that can be filtered by Self-Scheduled Tour inquiry source and can be run to show 

  • how many such leads are entering your organization or location (Lead List Report)
  • how these leads convert compared to other inquiry sources, especially conventionally scheduled tours (Conversion Success Report) 
  • how long these leads require to convert compared to other inquiry sources (Conversion Timing Report).

See details about Reports here.

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