What Parents Love About Automated Billing
Remember the phrase “set it and forget it”? Child Care Seer’s automated billing features reduce stress and make life that much easier for busy parents.
An old infomercial once offered busy families the ability to “set it and forget it” with a rotisserie chicken cooker. The studio audience chimed in on cue with the catchphrase, and it stuck in the popular lexicon. Child Care Seer, a new daycare management software program, allows parents the ability to “set it and forget it” when it comes to paying bills, and according to Karen Inman, program manager at Callahan Learning Centers, it’s probably their favorite feature of the program.
“It’s one less thing in a day for parents to worry about,” says Inman. “They don’t have to stop at the desk or run out to the car to grab a checkbook. They don’t have to make a phone call to ask about a charge because they can see everything online. There are no additional apps to download.” Because parents pay daycare weekly, the convenience is really much greater than for a monthly bill, such as a utility.
One big change Inman has noticed since the center began using the new software is the steep drop-off in late fees. “One day late is a $25 charge. That’s a tank of gas, and that adds up quickly for many families,” says Inman. “I’ve only had two late fees in the four months we’ve been using the new program, and those have been the few people who haven’t signed up for auto pay because they still like to pay by check.”
Instead, Seer is authorized to charge cards every Sunday, and only for the amount authorized by parents when they signed up for a program. Overage charges for late pickup are handled separately. Seer even reduces the amount of time spent dealing with late pickup fees. When parents check their child out at the kiosk at the end of the day, Seer notifies them if they were a few minutes late and what the charge is.
“We built Child Care Seer from the ground up to be fully aware of the attendance of children past and future, and the program offerings of our daycare customers.” says Tom Callahan, the inventor of Child Care Seer and author of the “The Three Pillars of Daycare” web series. “Our robust best in class billing features have allowed collections to become a minor portion of our daycare customers’ and their families’ weekly time, freeing them to focus more on the children.”
Inman says that parents appreciate being able to see any charges immediately, as they are incurred. That way there are no surprises and it reduces the time spent by staff informing parents with notes at the desk or in the child’s cubby. Instead, parents usually go online and simply add the amount to their weekly tuition charge. Inman also thinks that seeing the charge on the kiosk motivates parents to try to avoid late fees by picking up on time.
The flexibility of online billing and the wallet feature that Seer offers helps parents to create a payment system that works for them. The wallet is helpful for parents who want the convenience of autopayment (“set it and forget it”) but want to be able to tailor the plan to their needs. Seer can be set up to automatically bill either a card directly or the child or parent’s wallet. “We have a family where mom fills the child’s wallet on the first and third week of the month, dad fills it on the second and fourth week, and they alternate the fifth,” says Inman. This kind of system is convenient for parents who may be separated, or simply for budgeting purposes.
“Another mom prefers to load her wallet once a month and see the amount be deducted each week. She’s an accountant, and that’s just how she likes to do it,” says Inman. It’s also a useful budgeting tool for parents who get paid once a month.
Seer’s flexibility also allows parents to add credit cards from home or even to add additional payers, such as a grandmother who wants to help. Parents can input a name and email, and Seer then generates an email to the grandmother with a username, so that she can set up a password, input credit card information, and begin paying. All this without any phone calls to and from the center. “Since we’ve been using Seer, we don’t have to spend time on phone tag dealing with billing questions or issues,” says Inman, and adds that parents appreciate this as well. “There’s no need for parents to have to call and ask for printouts of statements, or to question a late fee. It’s all right there in front of them.”
Flexibility, ease, saved time and money, reduced stress – it’s like having your rotisserie chicken and eating it too.
About Child Care Seer
Software that automates everything for your daycare, pre-school, early education learning center, or after-school learning program.