The National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) hosts hundreds of on-campus conferences to help high school students better prepare for College. NSLC’s goal is to help students make the biggest impact on their future careers.
As their operations grew to host thousands of students and parents at one of their many conferences, they struggled with communicating scheduling and event information. This resulted in delayed communication and labor-intensive operations work to keep their students and parents updated with the latest information while making sure events run smoothly.
To support their growth goals, we worked with NSLC to move them from a paper-led organization to a powerful digitally-enabled ecosystem. This included the creation of a new custom streamlined and automated scheduling system, as well as a modern customer-facing mobile app.
This resulted in increased student engagement and parent communication, improved operations efficiency, and higher Net Promoter Score (NPS).
Here’s how our digital transformation impacted NSLC:
Hundreds of Hours in Efficiency Saved Through Automation and Digitization
NSLC’s multiple-day conferences depend on a single resource—the schedule. This schedule provided the timetable of events and event information for students and their parents in formats such as printed paper, email, and megaphone announcements.
If any information changed, it would result in a manual effort from the NSLC staff to correct and update (think: hundreds of paper schedules, reprinted and distributed to students).
When you’re working 14-hour days, every minute saved in operations is a cause for celebration.
A new automated scheduling system, built from the ground up
The schedule was the core of the student experience. This told them where they had to be, when, and what they should expect in each event. By creating a new scheduling system from the ground up, we digitized the student scheduling system and automated the creation of the digital and printed schedules.
This scheduling system not only saved the NSLC staff a lot of time, but helped the organization coordinate with outside vendors and university partners.
A new modern mobile app built with React Native
The digitization of NSLC’s business resulted in significant operational improvements, resulting in hundreds of hours saved every month.
“The staff-side software made an exponential difference in how we work. It’s so much easier! Words can’t explain how big of an impact this was for our organization,” - Susan Lowitz, Director of Operations, NSLC
Automation of paper schedule modifications
When a schedule change happens, paper schedules need to be updated. Previously, the design team would need to be notified and changes were made manually, and all of the changes involved new email notifications and paper schedule changes, sometimes resulting in confused students. Now, the new digital system makes the design changes seamlessly and automatically.
Real-time access to updated information
In the new digitized system, changes happened in real-time and behind the scenes. With immediate access to their updated schedules on mobile and web, students and parents had the relevant information they needed to make every session count.
“We found that parents were checking in on their kid’s schedules and activities while they were on the train, or any down moment they had. The relevant information was getting to them much quicker, and that made a huge impact on our customers’ experience,” - Susan Lowitz, Director of Operations, NSLC
Students were instantly connected with their peers
Teenagers can be shy. Connecting with other students and making friends was not always an easy activity for them. We fixed this by connecting them with other students through the Group.me chat message platform they could access through the NSLC app.
Students were interacting with other students before they even attended their first event. Connections and friendships were made almost instantly.
Student Referrals Skyrocketed and Access to Student Feedback is Now Instant
NSLC relies on survey data to improve their conferences. Traditionally, they would distribute paper scantrons and students would hand write their comments. We saw an opportunity to collect more thoughtful survey responses, as well as an ability to collect more refined data.
Session-level feedback surveys allowed for more feedback than ever before
With the new digital platform, NSLC was now able to collect surveys immediately after a session was complete.
The operations staff had the flexibility to dynamically assign session feedback to many types of events. This resulted in immediate, personalized feedback that they previously weren’t able to capture.
A dynamic database that allowed NSLC to personalize experiences.
We created a dynamic database that allowed the staff to access their student roster, with access to information needed to personalize their students’ experiences. This included their contact info, emergency contacts, dietary preferences, information on their assigned staff, and whether they were on or off-campus. This easy to access database, allowed the NSLC staff to personalize each and every student experience.
Happier Students, Grateful Parents, and a Productive Staff Results in More Student Referrals
It was more than moving from paper to digital. It was about enabling NSLC to serve their clients. As a result of an improved experience, substantially more students invited their friends for the next conference season than they did last year.
More technology isn’t the answer to everything. In some cases, more technology is a burden and doesn’t solve your current business problems. We were cognizant of this as we focused on building a simple to use platform that allowed the NSLC staff to do what they needed to do with minimal training.
Students had a more seamless experience than ever before, parents were grateful that their kids experienced the NSLC without any hiccups, and the NSLC staff was able to do it more efficiently. That’s a win-win-win for everyone involved.
If you enjoyed this case study and you’re looking for a product development agency that can help you the same way we helped NSLC, feel free to reach out.
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Rob Volk is Foxbox Digital’s founder and CEO. Prior to starting Foxbox, Rob helped Fortune 100 clients, including Pfizer, USPS, and Morgan Stanley build and scale enterprise apps. He was the CTO of Beyond Diet and implemented technology that scaled to over 350k+ customers, and was the CTO and Co-Founder of Detective (detective.io), a venture-backed intelligence platform that amassed 200k+ users in a short time frame. Read more