Oxford Learning Centres, an innovator in tutoring services, wanted to grow enrolments using consumer financing. Overwhelmed by the complexity of multiple franchisees, it was in search for a simple solution.
In the past, Oxford Learning struggled to cope with efficient financing of loans to the consumer. Tuition financing for low income household was dropping and the franchises stumbled to close deals. In turn, many families couldn’t send their children to tutoring centres. Oxford Learning was in search of a lasting fix. In traditional consumer financing markets, such as power sports and automobiles, financing is used as the first option of payment. Since the tutoring industry is relatively new to retail financing, consumers are less informed of financing as a viable method of payment.
The key to reversing this situation was to partner up with an industry expert. And that is exactly what Oxford Learning Centres did.
Tuition is a unique industry when it comes to consumer financing. Providers are not selling durable goods and one-off customers are a rarity. Providers instead have to sell a service. The tuition industry harnesses student capabilities by helping families in varying financial circumstances fund their children’s education over time. As this type of financing is delivered over long term, securing client trust and building lasting relationships with families are crucial. With tuition, consumer financing has to be seen in a different light.
Lynne Killinger, Oxford Learning’s Chief Financial Officer, understood these quirks of her franchisees. She looked to the healthcare industry, where the industry’s experts are predominant players when designing patient loans.
Ms. Killinger had an idea. She would approach a specialty financing company with expertise in the tuition industry to design a tailored program that would be simple and straightforward to use. “We simplified our program to make it easier to understand and implement. This can help increase enrolments anywhere from 5 to 20% and help that many more children progress in school and in overall confidence,” she explains. Tailored financing can boost enrolment as more children can receive the educational support they need.
You Are Not the Same
“You can waste an incredible amount of time and energy if you’re working with a partner who just doesn’t understand the unique hurdles your industry faces,” warns Mike Warren of B2B Consultants Ltd.
Understanding an industry and its nuances is vital for the operation of a national network, whether it is a manufacturer, wholesaler or franchisee. However, appreciation of this fact should be combined with external industry expertise.
“I have seen a number of cases where people with experience in one industry have tried to simply transfer that over to another. However they didn’t understand the industry they were entering and they didn’t acknowledge that not all industries have the same solution.” Mr. Warren has navigated the business-to-business (B2B) environment of Canada’s port industry for 25 years.
With such clumsiness, it’s not just wasted time that is on the line. Industry inexperience leads to miscommunication, eroding relationships and alienation of customers, plummets revenue and profits. “Much more is at stake here,” says Mr. Warren.
Market Expertise and Tangible Rewards
Working with businesses that have expertise in your industry can provide great benefits. If you operate through a national network of many franchises relying on you for guidance, expertise makes you relevant in the marketplace.
For any business, expertise in consumer financing can provide a competitive advantage. Linking to valuable contacts within the industry, helping solve complex problems and steering the company in the right direction, are only some of the key benefits.
“One of the major advantages of working with people who know your industry is knowing people who can solve problems,” says Mr. Warren. “If somebody knows how your industry works, they can help you. You may have a great idea but be chasing down the wrong path – and if you can access expert knowledge, that can get you back on the right track.”
Industry expertise means catered solutions. Your partners are here to understand you and your needs, helping create products that are appropriate for your company and your industry.
Your Solution is for You
To increase enrolment and help more families send their children to school despite high tuition costs, Oxford Learning Centres sought a partner with expertise. Its answer was Crelogix. With more than 20 years of experience in tuition, Crelogix had the means to tailor a more suitable financing program customized for Oxford Learning.
“When your partner understands your clients, they can help you design programs that work for both the client and the franchisees,” Ms. Killinger explains. “For us, it meant we were able to offer monthly payment options to families so that they are able to choose the one that best meet their needs.” Oxford Learning was ready to trust the experts’ opinion and hence reaped the benefits.