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What is Driving Instructor Services? DIS is an industry-specific, comprehensive, business administration service, dedicated to supporting driving instructors throughout the UK.
Your pupils can then contact your own telephone number and be seamlessly diverted to our professionally trained staff who, in that instant, become your own office on the High Street.
You can concentrate on your core training business whilst still managing your diary on the move using an iPhone or laptop or relax in the knowledge that every transaction we carry out on your behalf is accurately and faithfully recorded for you to inspect at home on your PC at the end of your working day.
Why should I use Driving Instructor Services? Over 500 respondents from a wide demographic of UK telephone business and consumer telephone users surveyed between April and June 2010 found that "when calling a?business during office hours in response to an advert for their services, more than half of people will not leave a message on voicemail." The same survey also found that "79% of people will not leave a message on voicemail if they are calling to place an order for a product or service". [Source: http://www.free-press-release.com/news-88-of-people-will-leave-a-message-n-voicemail-1277816535.html] So how many callers ring your number and are unable to get a live or competent response? Arguably, just one such caller that is booked who would otherwise be lost, would be enough to cover an entire month's fee with DIS.
But I manage very well with pupils ringing my mobile. Why change? Presumably, you know that you are not supposed to answer a mobile telephone whilst conducting a lesson (even if it's "hands free")? Apart from being thoroughly unprofessional, (even if your pupil doesn't have the nerve to object), how do you think the courts would view such calls being taken in the event of an accident whist being distracted, even if on your "hands free"? Signal strength and cost of calls are also often cited by potential customers as reasons why they prefer to not ring a mobile, with many claiming that a business using a landline number seems more credible to them, for some reason.
How can DIS help me save money? Apart from actually answering your calls and keeping you informed of last minute cancellations or changes of appointment, we can also chase up lost pupils and deal with rebooking lessons. You can also save the cost of having a website designed and end of year accounts being prepared, whilst automated text-reminders are sent to pupils 24 hours before every lesson without costing you a penny.
How will you make me more efficient? By tracking lessons, products and payments and monitoring your pupils' progress; by ensuring that pupils (and other business contemporaries) can contact your office 12 hours a day; by allowing callers to leave an out of hours message on your personalised Voicemail; by enabling pupils to view their records on your website; by allowing potential new pupils to interrogate then book lessons via your own website; by giving you instant access to your messages via an iPhone whilst out on the road; the list is almost endless. You should read more about our Benefits by clicking here.
Can you get pupils for me? Yes, although we may be restricted as to how we may be able to respond to very specific enquiries.
With pupils booking via DIS, my website and with me on lessons, how do we avoid double-bookings? That depends on the way you choose to update your diary. If you continue to use a manual diary or a PDA and are only able to update your Online Office at the end of your working day, double-bookings or "clashes" can occur. However, the system recognises whenever this happens and sends you an alert asking you to move one or other of the pupils.? If you use a lap-top in the car or an iPhone, clashes simply cannot happen because you, DIS and any pupil that may be booking directly via your website will be using "live" data and only slots that are actually available will show up.
How can you be sure of having enough staff on hand to answer all the calls? Well, obviously, there are obvious times of a day and certain days of the week where call flows are greater or fewer than others and we have come to know this through experience so can plan for them Sometimes, through unexpectedly high call volumes or staff shortage or during out-of-hours cover late in the evening, a call may be missed. Because we record our calls we can quickly initiate a call back for any caller that has been missed (although this relies on callers not withholding their number). However, EVERY call is recorded on your transaction logs - even missed ones - so you are able to monitor the number of seconds it takes us to answer a call, how long we spent dealing with it and what the result of the call was. This means that you have a summary of every caller, every sales call, every automated call, every hang-up and every wrong number that we deal with on your behalf. Our whole ethos is one of accountability.
Is there help available if I have a problem? We pride ourselves on our hands-on and the readily available help that's available. It's not unusual for our owner and managers to be picking the phones up and answering calls from pupils, so we all keep our feet firmly on the ground and stay in touch with the grass roots of the industry. Apart from a one-to-one telephone induction to every new instructor that uses our systems (including those that belong to multi-car schools) there are basic manuals that are downloadable as pdf. guides. In addition, every important service screen within your Online Office has its own Help icon describing what that screen does and how to update or use it.
Who has access to my diary? DIS staff obviously have access to everything. The owner of the driving school also has access to everything, and in the case of a multi-car school, any operators authorised by the owner will see everything about your business. The main subscriber can also nominate other people, either instructors or people working for them, to use the system to take bookings and answer pupil enquiries in exactly the same way as DIS does for its users.
Am I in a contract? Insofar as you agree to abide by our terms and conditions of service, yes, but there is no minimum period that you have to subscribe and the consequence of any breach of our Ts and Cs is simply a cessation of service. As long as you give at least 7 days notice to terminate our service, you can stop subscribing at the end of that month. The only possible issue could be that if you terminate within 7 days of the end of a month, the following month's subscription will still be collected and your contract would end at the end of that following month. If you want to terminate, please remember to give us notice at least a week before the end of a month.
I'm a bit of a technophobe. What equipment problems am I likely to encounter using your service? Our business operates substantially using the World Wide Web, so the most obvious issue is likely to be associated with your Hardware, Internet connectivity and download speeds. Faster Broadband means faster downloads and older computers may be slower; likewise, older operating systems may seem sluggish when loading some elements of our programme. The only other things to bear in mind is that our system is designed for PC and, although there are no known issues with using an Apple-Mac computer, new features sometimes need to be tweaked a little after general release in order to work effectively on Apple products. DIS operates a separate url specially designed for iPhone access but some older Internet-mobiles can struggle to match the iPhone's speed and processing power. The main DIS website is not accessible using an iPhone as it makes extensive use of Flash, which is not supported by the Apple Corporation.
How do I know that you'll represent my interests? Firstly, we act only according to the instructions you set in your Online Office. Secondly, our system is entirely automated, so that from the moment your diverted call is received by us we know who it is meant for and the details of your products and services. Thirdly, we filter all calls (e.g. manual or automatic, test already booked etc.), but Finally, if you feel we've misrepresented you in any way or have failed to project the professionalism you'd expect, we can easily check the recording of the calls taken to fully investigate any allegation or complaint.
My home number is also my business number. How will that affect your service? Obviously, DIS is meant as to be a business support service so, for all sorts of reasons, you should aim to keep your business and home numbers separate. If this is not practical, we will still take and record personal calls for you but, especially if you and your family have a very busy social calendar, you could fall foul of our "fair usage" clause, which is designed to stop abuse of our systems. At the time of writing (January, 2011, updated December 3013), we have not had to rely on this clause as we are obviously keen to keep our subscribers happy and give good service.
Some other sites describe phenomenal growth potential if I join them. Some say they are almost doubling their size monthly. Can you promise the same? Do you mean your growth or their growth?
The extent by which DIS can contribute to your growth depends on a large number of factors, not least the amount of advertising you do and the number of people who pick up the phone to call you. We can only try to get pupils to book up if they enquire about your services, and you'll also need to offer a competitive price structure and a series of products that people want to buy.
If the talk is about their growth, then I suppose that if you've only got small numbers to begin with a relatively small number of extra enquiries will give an apparently huge increase in percentages. As long as you're not tied in to a term contract or if the service is free, give it a try, although I'm not sure that however successful that particular service provider is it will have any bearing on you.
I see that some service providers offer a Freephone number for me to use. Can you do the same? Firstly, having a Freephone number costs you money. And bear in mind that 0800 numbers are only free if dialled from a landline! With over 50% of pupils using their mobiles to book lessons, calls to Freephone numbers are not only chargeable but are actually a lot more expensive when dialled on mobiles. And if you don't "own" the number i.e. if you are using a Freephone number that belongs to the service provider, you could create up a lot of goodwill advertising that number only to either have to give it up when you leave that service provider, or find it later offered to a competitor who will be able to capitalise on the earlier efforts you made to establish the number.
Don't be taken in by the hype surrounding non-generic phone numbers. The more numbers you use to advertise your services, the more likely you are to create confusion in the minds of your potential customers. Many people now actively prefer dialling a local number because they feel it's not likely to disappear overnight, so we would suggest that you continue to advertise your own phone number and retain the goodwill attached to it.
Having said all of that, setting up a free Freephone number that will belong to you is VERY easy to arrange. Decide for yourself whether it's right for your business.
And if you think it is, get your own number and retain the rights to it yourself.
How does your pupil rebooking service work? he system automatically keeps track of every pupil in your Online Office. If a particular pupil no longer has a future lesson booked, their details are sent to a "Not rebooked" list to remind you that they might need to be contacted to rebook (perhaps after a holiday or illness). Many instructors prefer to contact the pupil themselves, but if you do not have the time or are not sure whether the pupil genuinely intends to rebook, you might prefer to click a link that sends the pupils details to DIS for rebooking.
DIS staff will make three positive attempts to contact the pupil, either rebooking them or advising you as to what attempts have been made and why we failed to get the pupil to rebook.
What are the positive effects of DIS on my business? Well, first of all, you are far more likely to get a favourable response from prospective pupils if they're dealing with a live operator at the end of the phone. Hopefully, with our years of experience in the driver training industry, we can impress your prospective pupils with our knowledge of licensing, number of lessons to test and booking tests. If your products are relevant and your prices co?petitive, there shouldn't be any reason why you won't see a tangible increase in the number of new pupils being added to your books. Secondly, because your existing pupils will be able to contact your office (even when you're on the road conducting lessons), they can confidently rearrange or cancel their lessons, giving you less running around to do after work and drastically reducing the number of "No-shows".
Finally, you should also see many improvements in the administration of your business, including your record keeping and organisation. Just being able to send a text reminder to all your pupils a day or two before their lesson appointment is impressive and professional and, if you follow the full system's End of Lesson process, you can send them email receipts and progress reports via email at the end of every lesson.
Which is the ideal package for my business? Certainly the most cost effective is our Full service, which includes a designer website and end of year accounts as well as the facility for DIS to take your calls 8 till 8 weekdays, 9 till 5 on Saturdays.
Our Lite service is a simple message facility and may be appropriate when first starting out although, arguably, that is the very time that you need a "live" person to follow through right to making the booking rather than risk the possibility that any potential pupils might book elsewhere in the time it takes you to return their call.
If you have a multi-car driving school there are a greater number of subscription or licensing options and you should perhaps speak to DIS directly to discuss your alternatives.
How can I listen to the recorded phone calls that have been made to my business? The recording we make of the calls taken by our staff are mainly for training purposes and to enable us to monitor the job we are doing and to quickly identify whether a mistake has been made and how or why it was made.
Any of our subscribers can request us to check any call they would like further and better particulars about and we will initially send a written report. If this "fails to impress", we can quickly and easily "wrap up" the original message and forward it to you by email as a "wav.file", but we would not be willing to do this as a standard practice just to listen to random calls on a whim. There will need to be a reason for the call to be forwarded to you.
Can I only divert calls at a certain time? DIS is a small family concern and is not open 24 hours.
We are available to take calls between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. every weekday and between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on a Saturday. Experience has taught us that there are very few calls outside of these hours and even these can be stored on your personalised Voicemail facility to either be forwarded to your online office for you to deal with personally or can be dealt with by DIS on the first working day after the call was left.
DIS does not open on Sundays on public holidays.
How long would it take, if I decide to change the package? Changes in service levels or packages can be implemented immediately but charges would probably only be applied at the end of the month.
Is special hardware or software required, apart from access to the Internet, to use the DIS diary? No, although some of your current virus protection software may need to be reset to allow access to what it might otherwise see as a "suspect" site i.e. unrecognised.
How accurate are your reports? The reports are all generated from data you have inputted. If the data you have inputted is incomplete or wrong, the reports will not accurately reflect what has really happened in your business - it will reflect what you have (erroneously) said has happened in your business. We have tried to design the reports so that they are intuitive and user-friendly and, to date, we don't seem to have had any comments from users about the complexity of the layout or their difficulty in understanding or interpreting the data.
Do I need a knowledge of book keeping to generate my accounts? The accounts package uses stored details about charges and payments to generate creditors and debtors lists and a cash flow summary so there is no special entries that need to be made about your income. However, you will need to spend some time inputting further information about your expenditure to complete the accounts reports. None of this is any more or any less than you would have to provide your accountant or any other book-keeping service or accounts software package and, as the "income" is already known, should be easier than other methods of generating accounts.
However, the old adage of "garbage in - garbage out" definitely applies and you must remember that even the smallest of businesses has a duty to properly record its business transactions for the Inland Revenue and - as a matter of good practice - be able to generate accurate snapshots of turnover and projections for your bank or financial adviser simply at the click of a mouse.
How long does it take to launch my new web site, if I subscribe your service? You can launch (upload) your template website directly from your Online Office within seconds. If you want to buy - or already own - your own url (or "website name"), this can take a little longer to set up and implement.
(If you already have your own website and want to incorporate the "back-end links" to enable your pupils to book online, check their lessons, view their lesson history, etc., this too is very easily accomplished.)
Is it necessary to synchronize my PDA with the Online Office every day? Using a PDA is actually quite an old-fashioned method of updating your diary. Although DIS has developed in own comprehensive and bespoke diary management software that can be downloaded into Palm PDA units, the vast majority of our users use either iPhone (or other Internet compatible phones) at the end of each lesson or direct access via PC at the end of the working day.
It is undoubtedly best practice to check your Online Office every evening to see what messages or bookings have been taken and see whether there have been any lesson amendments processed for you by DIS.
Therefore, every user - including PDA users - should update daily.
Can I use the service via my IPad? The DIS service is Internet based so any equipment that enables Internet access can be used. Occasionally, new technology can bring with it problems with its operating system or browser but we're pretty quick to recognise and respond where issues may arise. Most technologies take great care to make their own systems "backward compatible" so problems are rare.
How often does your system update itself? Lesson charges are automatically posted (unless there are lessons already prepaid) the evening before a lesson is due to be taken. This means that at the end of each working day the instructor should complete an End of Lesson process to confirm what money (if any) has been paid. This is how the system can keep track of any balances owed to or owing from pupils and is necessary in order to provide a list of creditor and debtors and to produce a profit and loss account and balance sheet at the end of the year. Instructors can also cancel individual charges (for example, if a pupil is a "no-show" but the instructor doesn't wish to charge), in which case, the charges will be recalculated that evening to arrive at a corrected balance.
How do you enter Products into the pupil record so that the system can keep track of them? Products can either be entered through your Internet mobile phone, Palm o/s PDA or directly via your PC Online Office in the pupil's record.
How can you be sure to allow enough time between lesson appointments? DIS will always allow 30 minutes between lessons for travelling time. This seems to suit most instructors, however, the instructors themselves can leave more, or less, time than this when they rebook the pupil themselves.
Do I need special software for my mobile? No, the DIS mobile application runs directly from a dedicated website. (Palm PDA users will need to download DIS' bespoke programme in order to synchronise data via their PC at the end of every working day.)
Can I delete pupil records off the system? Pupil records, once created will remain on the system for at least 6 years (in order that the instructor can to comply with Inland Revenue requirements that relevant records are retained for at least that time). If a record has been created by mistake, it is always best to keep it - even if the data it contains is garbage - rather than be allowed to delete records that might be required years into the future.
Will your system cope if I charge different rates in different areas? Yes. Particularly important for multi-car schools, DIS' systems enable a selection of menu prices to be pinned against any number of postcode areas that the driving school covers. Thus, a block of ten lessons in one area could be £5 or £10 different from a block of ten lessons in an area 5 miles away.
What happens if I make a wrong entry? Automated messages are generated if the system detects an apparent anomaly (e.g. if a lesson has been charged at £19.50 and you've entered £20. Any such mistakes are very easily corrected, even weeks after they've occurred. (Obviously, if the pupil DID give you £20 and you gave no change, then the 50p credit will be correctly carried forward to the next lesson.) If you can keep your records correct in this way as you going along (using our simple but effective "End of Lesson" process) your records will be always accurate and you can rely on your statistics and reports whenever you choose to view them.
Can I offer special discounts and "mates rates" to my pupils? Yes. You can either offer them a percentage discount "across the board" on all their products (except tests) or you can create a special "default product" that will be a specific product use for that particular pupil.
I have some very particular ways that my driving school operates. Can you accommodate this? Depends what your "particular ways" are. We believe that our system is flexible enough to work for over 99% of the driving instructors in the UK. (Remember that we have over 35 years experience in operating driving schools ourselves and it's unlikely that you will have completely reinvented the wheel.)
We also have our own in-house programming staff who can be quick to respond to reasonable requests for additions and amendments to our systems. In fact, many of the best ideas that we now use - iPhone access to your Online Office, automated free text reminders to pupils, the "DIS community" pupil-referral scheme - all had their roots in suggestions put to us by existing instructors.
Why don't you negotiate discounts for ADI related products like some other driving organisations do? We have looked at this in some depth and found that by the time we boiled down the dozen or so ADI-relevant products and services that might be of genuine interest to working driving instructors, then looked at the hoops that you have to go in order to achieve any meaningful savings (perhaps dialling a special number to give your membership details to be sent out a voucher that will give you an extra 5% off an already discounted product, or whatever), it simply isn't worth it. And many will simply beat any offer you've seen advertised, just for the asking of it. Even a recurring item like fuel being purchased using a fuel card isn't as straightforward as the fuel card companies would like you to believe. The profit margins that most companies work to nowadays is so small because they're already trying to attract business themselves, this leaves them very little room to offer any meaningful reductions. And in many, many instances, the savings are negligible or come with so many conditions or special requirements that it's just not worth the hassle. There are a myriad of discounts cards and special offers available almost daily in the trade press and from your local dealers. Our advice would be to apply for a cash-back credit card to pay for fuel; use the local supermarket to fill up (they are virtually always cheaper than using a fuel card), and enjoy the savings that way. We decided instead to concentrate on our core business: Driving Instructor Services.
How far ahead will your diary display appointments? Virtually as long as you want. The Online diary can work up to 2 years into the future. The online booking process for pupils wanting to book slots is set to show slots up to 6 weeks in advance.
Can I have a link to put on my own website for pupils to book online? Yes. A very popular feature with DIS and particularly with instructors and schools operating their own websites is the coding that is supplied to subscribers to give to their web designers to incorporate live features such as checking postcodes covered, identifying available instructors and the facility to book a lesson directly from slots that are showing as available in the instructor's diary.
Can I communicate with other instructors within your system? You can communicate with other instructors within your driving school using the comprehensive Intranet system and you can also communicate with other DIS instructors throughout the UK using our Forum.
How does the system know what charges to make to my pupils? We will have a list of all the Products you sell and one of them will be the default charge that will be made in the absence of any other product having been sold. For example, if a pupil pays for a block of 10 lessons but you forget to enter it, the default charge will be applied. The system has several built-in checking mechanisms to draw your attention to any anomalies (such as why a pupil might have paid you hundreds of pounds but there is only a default charge for a single lesson having been entered) and it is very easy to correct any mistakes you might have made and correct the entries to get a correct balance.
You will also have the opportunity to set a percentage discount for particular pupils and even set a different default charge than your standard default charge for special pupils. Obviously, you can enter free lessons and create separate products and charge different prices in different postcode areas - particularly important if you are a multi-car driving school.
Can the system differentiate between lessons being taken in our automatic car and our manual car? And does it also keep track of PDI training that we sometime undertake? Yes, and Yes again.
What happens to pupils that are no longer "active"? If they've simply stopped having lessons they will be sent to a "Not rebooked list" for contacting. Contact can be initiated by either the driving school (multi-car) or by DIS (on behalf of sole traders). Pupils who have been cancelled can be reactivated at any time in the future.
What happens if a pupil cancels a lesson without rebooking? Well, it partly depends how they do it.
If they do not rebook at the end of their lesson, you can mark them as either "Postponed" (in which case - unless they rebook in the meantime - a reminder will automatically be sent to you after the postponed period has elapsed advising you to contact them), OR "Cancelled" in which case no reminder will be issued but the pupil's record will be archived (always recoverable if they ever rebook in the future).
If you are using the DIS "backend programming" to allow your pupils access to their accounts via your website, provided they give at least 48 hours notice, they could cancel online without rebooking another lesson. If this happens, they will appear on the "Not Rebooked" section of your Online Office to remind you to contact them. (Alternatively, you may be able to pass their details to DIS to contact them to rebook on your behalf.)
If they cancel through DIS, we will firstly notify by text if the cancellation happens "on the day" and we will advise them that a charge MIGHT be effected (depending on what your instructions are to us about dealing with such matters). We will always try to immediately rebook another appointment but if we are not able to do so, the pupil's details will, once again, appear on the Not Rebooked list to remind you to contact them.
Do I have to divert my calls for a minimum period or at all? No. Divert as and when you choose. Each of our subscribers has different requirements. Some are happy to divert just when they are not available. Some have their own staff answering their phones most of the time and just need us as an "overspill" facility or "out-of-hours" support function.
I'm going away for a few days holiday. Can you tell my pupils that I won't be able to speak to them until after I come back? Yes, that's easy, although every call that we take whilst you're away will be recorded in your Online Office and this is accessible via the Internet from anywhere in the world. If you choose to logon (even from your laptop on the beaches in Spain) you'll be able to assess for yourself whether a call is important enough to send an Intranet message to DIS asking us to contact the caller with a specific message on your behalf.
I've been let down badly by one or two of my pupils. Am I able to blacklist them? We don't have a "blacklist" as such (that can be quite an emotive word!) but we do have an "Alert" feature which will pop-up a tailor-made instruction to our operators if that particular pupil (or ex-pupil) rings in. Our advanced telephony will know who it is that's calling so we should be able to explain why we are unable to book them or ask that they forward any outstanding payment to you before you can cover any more lessons (or whatever else you've said in your instruction).
Can I do everything on my mobile phone that I can do in my Online Office on my PC? No. Your PC will be able to access and process the huge amount of data that relates to your business very quickly whereas a mobile phone cannot hope to match that. However, all the most important features that are needed "on the move" (sending and receiving messages, viewing and updating your diary, accessing pupil contact details, booking and amending lesson appointments etc.) are all features that are accessible via your mobile.
Which Browsers does the DIS system currently support? Internet Explorer 7+, Firefox 1+, Netscape 7+ and AOL 7+.
What Browser settings do I need to use for the DIS system? The Online Office works on virtually all browsers.
Do I need to install any software onto my PC or iPhone? No. DIS is an Internet based facility. As long as you can get online, you can use our services.
Can I use the DIS system from outside the UK? Our call answering facility and pupil referals are all UK based but there is no reason why a DIS system cannot be administered from outside the UK. All instructors using our system can keep in touch with their business from anywhere in the world via their Online Office, although the practicality of running a full-time UK driving school permanently from outside the UK has yet to be tested.
What is the "Online Office"? The Online office is the backbone of the DIS system and the means by which anyone who might work in your business is kept fully informed. It includes an interactive diary which is Internet accessible 24 hours a day, every day of the week and from anywhere in the world.
The Online office stores all your business information and enables you to view, record, amend, cancel and rebook pupils' lessons. It can be updated either manually from a paper-based diary (using pre-printed worksheets), or electronically (using a PDA).
On login, a summary screen displays lesson clashes, outstanding messages and ?upils to be rebooked. The Online office also stores appointment details, pupil progress scores, products details and payments received and collates all the data that is necessary to provide comprehensive reports.
Automated checking provides error free transactions and gives reminders to prompt and cajole you and your instructors into following good practice. To avoid misunderstandings, a full log is kept of all the work carried out by DIS on your behalf. This enables the instructors or owner of the driving school to keep complete control of their business and helps you to determine the cost-effectiveness of our service.
What is "call divert"? A major benefit to DIS subscribers is the ability to transfer incoming calls from a mobile or landline for an immediate professional response at relatively little cost. Your pupil pays for the call to your number and you pay for that part of the call that you divert to DIS.
You can retain or transfer as many of your calls as you want, either choosing to answer the phone yourself or diverting to DIS.
How do I divert calls from a landline? The process of diverting calls is simplicity itself:
From a landline number you need only press a combination of keys on your keypad (which may differ between service providers) then enter the appropriate code and telephone number to be diverted to. To receive your calls again, simply repeat the process. Larger businesses can also divert non-geographic 0800, 0845 and 0844 numbers with equal ease.
How do I divert calls from my mobile? To divert calls from your mobile there is generally a Settings option in your main menu that allows you to set up, query and cancel diverts.
Every instructor working under your brand can individually divert his or her landline or mobile calls and even personal messages will be recorded, which is ideal for sole-traders and smaller partnerships that work from home.
Tell me more about the SMS texting you provide The main advantage of DIS text messaging is that you can retrieve details of important calls at the end of each lesson and then decide whether to deal with them immediately. Your business remains accessible whilst you are on the road but without disturbing your lessons.
Although all calls taken by DIS are recorded in your Online Office, not every call received on your behalf is bound to be sent to you by SMS text.
DIS staff are very experienced in sorting through the uninitiated "special offers" that are the bane of every instructor's life. Only urgent calls that are relevant to your business will be forwarded to you immediately. If you ARE interested in advertising in "Widget Monthly", you can always contact the salesman after receiving the message in your Online office.
Subscribers to the DIS Full service can expect the DIS staff to deal directly with new bookings, lesson changes and general enquiries o? their behalf. They will not need SMS texts other than (for example) if a pupil cancels on the day of a lesson.
DIS Lite users however, with a "no-frills" call forwarding service, will have considerably more text messages to respond to and enquiries to deal with.
There are also a dozen or so automated messages that are sent to your pupils on set events e.g. a reminder 24 hours before lesson is booked, before a test to prompt them to bring both parts of their licence, congratulations on passing their test, at birthdays and Christmas, etc.
Tell me more about "Telephone reception" A prominent benefit of the DIS support service is the provision of a live, UK-based, call centre and telephone answering service. After diverting calls, you will be providing a simple and economic point of contact for your pupils that is manned by professional DIS reception personnel every working day.
Advanced telephony enables DIS to recognise diverted numbers, allowing its operators to answer your calls as though they are your very own members of staff.
DIS will obviously need to know about your lesson prices, availability, cancellation policy and the areas you (and your instructors) cover in order to provide a complete service to you, but - if you prefer - you may choose to use this support only during holidays or busy periods or whilst you are conducting lessons.
Because we work directly from your own data, DIS can deal with all your day-to-day business administration quickly, accurately and effectively, saving you both time and money. Every transaction is recorded in the relevant instructor's Online office and all calls are recorded to avoid misunderstandings and to monitor the quality of service we provide.
Remember, however, that the DIS Lite service will have limited access to your data so can only provide limited support.
Do you have PDA software for my phone? DIS' handheld software can be uploaded onto an instructor's Palm PDA and offers an alternative to a paper diary. It is specifically designed for driving instructors and will store lesson data that that can later be "synchronised" with data inputted by DIS.
Instead of entering data manually through the Online office via a PC, instructors can use a Palm PDA at the end of each lesson to enter details of payments, update lesson syllabus scores and input new appointments.
A Palm PDA can also be used to view the daily diary, enter new pupils and sell additional products, whilst pupils can be given a receipt to confirm the start and end time (and duration) of the lesson together with details of their next appointment using a mobile printer.
A Palm PDA with enough processing speed to function correctly and a small mobile printer will not be very expensive. But a Palm PDA is merely one method by which data can be entered into your Online office.
A wireless laptop and an in-car blue-tooth printer can provide an excellent alternative, albeit at a slightly higher price, although mobile phone technology is currently restricted by browser limitations and signal strength.
What is the Lesson Syllabus you use? Pupils find it very helpful to have a continuous assessment of their progress during their driving lessons. This is why DIS provides a comprehensive lesson syllabus that can be viewed by the pupil via the instructor's website.
The optional DIS Lesson syllabus marks a score between 1 and 9 for each subject that is covered during a lesson. The subject headings reflect DSA test requirements and 7 is considered test competent.
Most pupils can expect to be marked on around five subjects each lesson and the score that is given is compared to the pupil's previous best score in that subject. This helps prove that genuine learning is taking place.
It is not necessary for a pupil to be competent in earlier subjects before introducing more complex ones as the aim is to identify weaknesses in individual learning.
This can benefit parents or friends of pupils by directing their practice in their own car in between their professional lessons.
What can I expect from your free website? Our full service includes a designer website hosted free of charge by DIS. Selecting from a number of templates and with a choice of colour schemes, subscribers can upload 250 words of homepage text and a photograph to personalise this important marketing tool.
DIS has prepared a selection of generic pages that will automatically be included in your DIS Personal website and which cover topics such as Driver Licensing, Learning to Drive and The Driving Test.
These have been professionally written to give clear and concise information and provides you with an unique opportunity to create your own Internet presence, saving you many hundreds of pounds in design, hosting and maintenance costs.
You will also be able to add a number of optional pages such as Pass Plus, Advanced Driving and Instructor Training, although exactly which pages you select will depend upon the relevancy of those services to your business. Not every subscriber will offer Instructor Training for example.
Finally, a series of interactive links completes your website, making use of the electronic data that is stored in your Online office, and enabling links to be generated to provide enhanced features such as Booking online.
How do pupils book online? Many DIS subscribers have already gone to some considerable expense to design their own website and may be perfectly satisfied with their own hosting arrangements. However, both the DIS Personal website and a subscriber's own website can utilise a variety of interactive features.
Sophisticated DIS "back-end" programming allows existing pupils to access a secure Pupil login facility. This enables them to book, amend or cancel their lessons (provided there's enough notice) without disturbing their instructor.
Another valuable facility is a Products and Prices link where potential new pupils can view the services you offer and choose from a selection of available lesson appointments and book directly into that slot. Your diary is then updated automati?ally.
These and other links can easily be incorporated into your existing website by your own web designer. You will even be able to accept card payments through your website using the PayPal link provided by DIS.
A recent feature is our Book-Lessons-Online. internet directory that is intended to promote DIS subscribers. Over time, this additional presence might generate pupil enquiries in its own right and is available free of charge to every full subscriber.
What reports are generated? DIS digital technology is able to produce a comprehensive series of reports, statistics and analyses at the click of a mouse. These can be accessed by instructors or subscribers via their own Online office at any time of the day or night and from anywhere in the world.
Data such as driving test analyses, pupil retention rates, lesson summaries and pupil progress sheets can all be printed out to help individual instructors administer their business and to support their pupils in the learning process.
This keeps the small-trader functioning efficiently by maintaining an organised approach to business and encouraging good practice. This is often an area that is neglected by many sole traders. For multi-car driving school users, several bespoke management reports give an overview of total business performance and of the individual instructors working under the brand.
These additional reports include reviews of lesson sales, test pass rates, marketing sources, enquiry conversion statistics, pupil retention rates and re-booking percentages whilst bespoke functions can also be incorporated.
Each individual instructor using the system will be also able to generate their own personal series of End of year accounts to give to their accountant or the Inland Revenue.
What End of Year accounts does the system produce? In addition to a variety of business reports, each instructor using the system can access a series of simple programme screens to produce a cash flow statement, profit and loss account and balance sheet that can be forwarded directly to the Inland Revenue at the end of their tax year.
Even where instructors already have an accountant or where their financial affairs are less than straightforward, the discipline of keeping proper account of lesson charges and payments and the ease with which these records can be recovered should substantially reduce any accountancy bill they might have.
And each instructor working under your brand will enjoy the same benefits provided they input the appropriate data into the pupil's record at the end of each lesson.
Supporting these end-of-year accounts is a creditor and debtor list, which identifies all the money owed to the instructor and owed by the instructor to others. These reports can be instantly formulated from data stored in their Online office.
Where can I get help and advice to expand my business? DIS owners and managers are highly competent professionals in their own field. This enables our subscribers to se?k additional advice in many aspects of ORDIT training, business administration and law through our Business mentoring service.
Many sole-traders and multi-car driving schools, find it difficult to get cost-effective impartial, professional advice in support of their enterprise. This can be especially important in expanding businesses where early mistakes may be more difficult and expensive to correct later.
Over 30 years experience of running a driving school has given the owners and managers of DIS a unique insight into how to save money, increase turnover and give a better service to instructors and pupils.
DIS key personnel have hands-on experience of achieving Investors in People certification, Quality Assurance standards and ORDIT instructor-training qualifications and have previously developed a business-format driving school franchise.
We can assess everything that is pertinent to your business, from your current instructor contracts to your operating processes and we can help ascertain how you can best realise the potential of the DIS service.
Whether you are a sole-trader planning to expand or represent a multi-car driving school needing to secure your existing position, DIS can provide everything from a few helpful suggestions to a comprehensive business review to give you a template for expansion and a timetable for development.
Can I view the diary for more than a week at a time? We are limited to what we can fit on screen but you can get a monthly overview of the available slots in your diary, which you can also print this out.
Can I print out worksheets or my weekly diary from the Online Office? Yes.
Do I need an Internet connection to use Driving Instructor Services? Yes. Because our Online Office is accessed via the Internet, you can use it from any Internet terminal, workstation, laptop or computer anywhere in the world at any time of the day or night.
Do I need any bookkeeping knowledge to operate your systems? No. You only need to input the data and the sophisticated programming that underpins the system will do the rest.
How will you know what postcodes I cover? You will be able to create the postcodes your school covers in your database. Each postcode can then be allocated a price band so that you charge different rates in different areas if you want to. If you have instructors working under your brand, they will then each be able to select the individual postcodes that they cover in their own postcode profile.
Can I pay a one-off fee to buy your software instead of subscribing to your full s?rvice? Elements of our service - such as our automated text facilities and our telephone call reception service - are only available to full subscribers. If you are interested in a software licence to run your business - particularly relevant to multi-car driving schools that already have established operating practices and staff in place to answer calls - we can provide a quotation for a bespoke package upon request.
What happens if you miss a call that is being diverted to my number? If you only have a single telephone line being diverted, then any other caller to the same number will get an engaged tone. If ever we are so busy that we might have calls for several driving schools at the same time, we would recognise if we missed any calls and immediately initiate a call back once we have a staff member free.
Can I access my diary via my iPhone or Blackberry if I am a free diary user. Yes.
Does DIS market my business for me? DIS does not offer to advertise your brand or promise to generate work for you (although we can sometimes reallocate pupils within the DIS community, paying a small fee to instructors for any work they pass on to other instructors in our community). But our core aim is to provide a comprehensive support package for business administration.