Monday, July 26, 2010

How to judge and deal with "Free-Riders"?

So called "Free-Riding" can be a problem with any service like ours where tutors offer free trials.
(Free-riding is the act of hopping from one trial lesson to another without having the intention of ever paying)

Cafetalk does have limited safety measures to prevent this like not allowing consecutive trial requests. We could do more, but we don't want to create too much of a disincentive for students to request trials because, after all, trials do significantly lower the hurdles for a student to start using Cafetalk in the first place.

That being said, we do understand that some students will try to take advantage of the system, and in this post we want to introduce some of the ways you can deal with this issue.

1. Offer your trials at a reduced price instead of setting them completely free.

On the new cafetalk, you can choose trial with fee. They don't necessarily have to be free. Please login your page, click "service", then change the service details.

2. Check student's profile for potential indicators

You can see how many trial lesson requests a student has made before as well as the overall number of requests.
If the ratio of trial requests to overall requests is unreasonably high that's a good indication that the student is a free-rider and you have every right to decline his or her request.

3. Check the amount of points the student has purchased in the past.

Well, actually we don't have this feature yet, but a tutor suggested to us that this might be a useful piece of information to have when judging whether a potential student is a free-rider or not.
We kind of want to be careful not disclose too much information for fear of making students uncomfortable, but we will consider it if we get an overwhelming response from tutors.

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions please let us know.

Thank you!

Cafetalk team

1 comment:

  1. I think having some indication of how many points have been purchased would be a good idea. I have just received a trial lesson request from a student who has made 6 lesson requests and all of those were free trial lessons. Is that student a free-rider or just indecisive? I don't know, but if there was some indication that they had purchased points, then I would feel more comfortable accepting a trial lesson even though it might be during peak hours when my regular students make requests. I usually have good luck converting trial students to regular students, but there have been one or two trial students who obviously do not have any intention of paying for a lesson, so anything that would help me filter out those students would be great and would encourage me to give more free trial lessons.


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