Paul Green was intrigued. He'd invited some of his music students to join a jam session with his band and a few took him up on the offer. A few weeks later, Paul noticed that the students who kept playing together made a lot more progress than those who continued with solo instruction only. From a casual invitation and his chance observation, the School of Rock was born.
In 2002 Paul Green opened the first official School of Rock location in Philadelphia with more than 100 students. He quickly expanded to surrounding cities and counties, and then to San Francisco, New York, Austin, and other cities around the country.
Today, the fast-growing franchise has over 140 music schools in eight countries and dozens more expected to open over the next year. Some 17,000 young music lovers, from pre-school-age children on up, gather at the School of Rock to learn music in their performance-based and inspirational music programs.
Out of tune
The franchise used an enterprise business management system that was powerful but too complicated and confusing for individual franchise owners and teachers. Typically, these former guitar players and rocker moms and dads have a passion for teaching and sharing their love of music with kids, not for learning the ins and outs of complex enterprise software.
Franchisees were also experiencing a lot of software-related pain—unreliability, unresponsiveness, and sluggishness in scheduling. Owners and managers needed to sign students in with ease, and they needed to know whether a student was up-to-date on payments. School of Rock needed it all to be smartphone-friendly to keep up with modern parents who schedule their family’s life on the fly.
"Front Desk is not just a point of service (POS) software platform—they’ve become our trusted partner."
School of Rock found that Front Desk could meet their software checklist and decided to move their hundreds of locations onto the mobile-friendly platform. School of Rock CEO Dzana Homan said, "Front Desk is not just a point of service (POS) software platform—they’ve become our trusted partner. Front Desk takes our feedback and makes the changes we need to improve efficiency in running our schools.” Dzana stressed the importance of the role Front Desk plays for each School of Rock location, “Good POS software facilitates efficient business transactions, which leaves more time for our franchisees and general managers to engage with students, parents, teachers, and the community."
Running in harmony
Front Desk made communication much easier between the corporate office and the franchisees and staff as well as between staff and customers (students and families). Kris Kierullf, owner of School of Rock Seattle said, “Before Front Desk we weren’t able to streamline communications internally or externally, and now it’s seamless.” Everyone now knows where and when a class, lesson, or rehearsal is taking place, who the student is, and if the lesson still needs to be paid. All this added clarity makes it easy for the corporate office to properly track franchise royalties. This proves to be a two-fold advantage for the franchise owners according to Kris: “Relationships are the most important part of running a school, and when things like scheduling and billing get in the way of the relationship there’s an immediate barrier to what we’re there to provide—the students’ education. It’s all integrated in Front Desk and eliminates the need for stressful money conversations, making it easier for us to manage our checks and balances and report back accurately to the corporate office.”
The click of a button is all it takes to open a new School of Rock franchise in Front Desk. Welcoming new locations is as simple as creating a new web address for them and adding them to corporate reporting. They can get down to the business of teaching music right away. “We don’t have to worry that we’ve missed a step. All of the pieces are in place to onboard a new franchise, and we can be confident that the new school is set up to succeed,” says Jacqueline Fernandez, Project Manager at School of Rock.
"Front Desk made it so easy for us to look at the global picture of the company down to the minutest detail."
The corporate office can now easily get a variety of different views of the entire company with Front Desk. They can focus in to see how a specific class is doing at any school and then can broaden their view to see how that same class is doing across all 140+ franchises. Sam Dresser, Director of School of Rock IT noted, “Front Desk made it so easy for us to look at the global picture of the company down to the minutest detail. We can make corporate changes based on what the data shows us.” The ability to narrow and broaden views makes it possible for School of Rock to measure specific causes and effects, like checking what happens if you change a scheduled class time or a certain instructor to teach a piece of music. He continued, “Once Front Desk was in place, we were able to see where follow-up was needed for some of our local schools with customer conversions, and we were able to step in and give additional training to take those schools to the next level.”
The simplicity of Front Desk makes it possible for School of Rock’s IT team to support franchises on the software. Because Front Desk is so intuitive, they no longer have to spend hours and hours training staff. Sam said, “We’re able to focus on leveraging the data that Front Desk collects and create best practices to implement across the franchise. We can devote our time to the best use of the tool rather than teaching and re-teaching people how to use it. They can get back to the business of doing what they love—teaching music.”