A few months ago, we were given a challenge. We were receiving feedback that our users were struggling to keep on-top of the progress of all their students. Keeping up-to-date with a handful of students isn’t a challenge for counsellors, but when it comes to managing an entire grade, or all students within a counseling center it becomes an intense coordination problem. It took a while (sorry!), but we're responding to this challenge today with a major new capability we call “Status Tracker”.
Here at Cialfo, we focus on listening to our users. After all, nobody knows our platform more than the people who use it day in and day out - and that's you, the counsellors and consultants. During our feedback sessions, we discovered two interesting things.
The first is that several users wanted Cialfo to be more visual. The second was that people wanted a way to track their progress.
Our internal name for something like this is "hidden request" - a non-obvious feature people want in a platform. For some companies, it may be customisable background images. For others, it's a floating help bar. For us, it turned out to be the Status Tracker: a visual way to keep track of all your students and tasks. Once we started floating the idea to our users, it turned out to be incredibly popular. In fact, it's easily the most popular feature request we've had to date.
This was great, because it meant we'd discovered something people wanted and we hadn't provided yet! It was also awful, because then the pressure was on: could we make something that lived up to our userbase's expectations?
It took six weeks, five iterations, and a lot of pizza, but we're finally proud to say... we're almost done with the Status Tracker. And we think you'll love it.
During our feedback sessions, we realised there were three important features that needed to be tracked, but there was no way of doing that. Those turned into the three components the Status Tracker is now built around:
- Student List with Tracking
- Student Profile: General and Application Status
- Plans (previously Packages)
The new student list underwent a major redesign. In fact, we pretty much started from scratch. We asked ourselves - if we were using this, what do we want? After some brainstorming, we narrowed it down to four main goals:
- I can quickly scan through all my students and find the right one.
- I can know the status of all my students at a high level quickly.
- I know which students are falling behind.
- I can get my student’s contacts and other basic details quickly.
The new student list changes the focus from presenting basic student details to showing the current status. Now, you can find out everything you need to know in the student list.
Packages a.k.a Plans
Our “Packages” tool has been updated for status tracking and is now called “Plans”. All packages created previously now exist within Plans, but are otherwise unaffected. Our goal with plans is to enable you to customise Cialfo to your exact needs and specifications.
- You can create different plans for each grade or class where the needs of 9th grade students is different from those in 12th grade.
- You can create different plans according to different degree types (example: undergraduate, MBA), or different application countries, or number of applying schools.
- You can also create plans for non counselling services, where you might just want to track consulting hours sold.
Application statuses can be configured separately for each region within a plan. So while a student might be applying to colleges in US and Canada, the status items can be different to account for different requirements in each country.
We're currently putting the final touches on, and we can't wait to finally reveal it! The Status Tracker launches May 15th, so if you haven't already, subscribe to our newsletter and you'll be the first to know when it launches.
We hope you'll love it as much as we do.
(If you can't wait, we've quietly released a few new updates: check out the release notes.)