Ever since my company created a web-based scheduling software, I’ve been talking to sports facility owners and managers across the country to get their feedback. In fact, I still personally train many of our clients on how to use the software.
I come across one complaint fairly often. Managers don’t like the fact that the software (eSoft Planner) doesn’t allow more than one instructor to be available for an appointment in the same location at the same time.
Managers point out that this limits their abilities; they want the slots to be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. If they limit the availability for that time slot in that location to one instructor, clients don’t have as much flexibility. However, once I point out the problems that typically arise from scheduling more than one instructor in the same location at the same time, they agree that it’s better to give each instructor his or her own time slots.
In fact, I used to handle scheduling the same way they did at my own sports facility; I’d make multiple instructors available for lessons in the same cages at the same times. Here’s why I stopped.
- Instructors have limited schedules. Independent sports instructors are often part-time employees who come to your sports facility after their “regular” jobs. If you don’t set aside time slots just for them, they’ll likely end up with just one appointment in an evening and will quickly decide that it’s not worth the trip. On that same note, making multiple instructors available the same night in the same location often leads to non-consecutive lessons, which means that the instructors have to deal with awkward waits in between them. As you know, it’s tough to find and hire good instructors – you need to give yours all the incentives they need to stay at your facility.
- Instructors are territorial. Along the same lines of keeping your instructors happy: Failing to allot one location and time slot per instructor typically leads to instructors shuffling around to different locations (in my case, batting cages), throughout their lessons. In my experience, instructors prefer to stay in the same location; they think of it as their own space for that time, and it’s more convenient than moving around the facility.
- Making multiple instructors available at once makes double booking and confusion more likely. Instructors who are scheduled to be available at the same time and place from week to week often feel comfortable verbally assuring their clients that they’ll be available for lessons on an ongoing basis, before officially checking the schedule or officially scheduling the appointments. That’s why if more than one instructor is sharing the space, chances of double booking and confusion increase.