This blog post is part of our Customer Spotlight series. Throughout the series, we highlight Chargify merchants and the lessons learned as they grow their subscription-based businesses.

There are approximately 8 million children being educated in the UK and 25% of those children receive additional education assistance via “private tuition” (also called “private tutors” in the U.S.). Close to 40% of parents are not able to utilize private tuition for their children because of the expense.

UK online education company EdPlace has emerged as a “parent champion,” providing online tutorial services designed to help parents support their children in their education (specifically Math, English, and Science) at an affordable price.

It’s working. On average, there is a 10% increase in students’ scores when EdPlace is used more than once a week. The company itself has grown 23% in the last 12 months.

We recently spoke to EdPlace executives to learn more about how they have become an industry leader in a competitive marketplace, lessons they’ve learned along the way, and how they use Chargify to be more efficient, both internally and by providing a better experience to their end-customers.

The birth of EdPlace

Founded in 2012, the seeds for EdPlace were planted many years before that. Founder Will Paterson is dyslexic and he struggled in his early school years. Paterson credits his parents for recognizing his struggles in school and providing the support he needed to learn. With their support, he earned top marks in his later school years and at university.

His personal experience, along with the realization there weren’t many resources for UK parents, and an interest in how technology could help education led to the creation of EdPlace.

EdPlace 2012

EdPlace, 2012 (Source)

To be clear, EdPlace isn’t just a B2C business. The company has both a B2C product for parents and a B2B product for private tuition businesses (in the U.S. they’re more often referred to as “tutor businesses”). The B2B product allows tuition businesses to add numerous student accounts, which scales easily as their businesses grow.

2018 EdPlace home screenshot

EdPlace, 2018

Whether utilizing the B2C or B2B product, the students’ experience is consistent across both products. The content for students is teacher-generated and 100% aligned with the UK National Curriculum.

Their proprietary technology personalizes each student’s journey by adapting to each child’s current knowledge and learning progress. Kids enjoy positive reinforcement and motivation via “badges” earned and other customizable rewards as they complete assignments.

Managing both B2B and B2C business models

EdPlace not only faced the pain points all subscription businesses do, but also had the added complications of managing both B2B and B2C product offerings. They needed a dynamic platform capable of handling all the intricacies of their sophisticated business structure.

“For us, it’s always been about finding a solution that is flexible enough to deal with the complexities of our existing system and where that system is going,” says Will Lord, Head of Product at EdPlace.

When searching for a subscription billing and management vendor, EdPlace evaluated a variety of potential solutions. They wanted someone that could handle their current needs and be able to scale as their company grew. Chargify was the only one to fit their needs and check every box on their must-have list:

  • Support complicated pricing structures (both B2B and B2C)
  • Quick, seamless integration
  • PCI Level 1 compliant security
  • User-friendly interface that’s intuitive for all staff to use, without the need for code or development skills
  • Frictionless user experience, especially when sunsetting customers on one product and moving them to another
  • Ability to experiment frequently (price, product offerings, free trial variations, etc.)
  • Provides excellent customer service

Complex pricing

 

The pricing structure is quite complex. We’ve got a lot of product offerings and components. It gets very complicated.
Will Lord, Head of Product, EdPlace

 

EdPlace’s B2C product targets parents, who can purchase:

  • Monthly or annual plans
  • One individual student account or a “family” account (which includes up to 4 separate student accounts)
  • A single subject or all 3 subjects (Math, English, and Science)

B2C Pricing EdPlace

All of the options above include a trial opportunity that allows customers to try it out before committing to the full package price.

B2B Pricing students highlighted EdPlace

EdPlace’s B2B product targets private tuition businesses, who can purchase:

  • Monthly or annual plans
  • Tiered numbers of student accounts (seen in the drop-down in the screenshot above), ranging from 10 to 500 included student accounts
  • A single subject or all 3 subjects (Math, English, and Science)

A trial is available for all EdPlace’s B2B offerings as well. It’s easy to see how convoluted pricing could be with all those parameters, but then factor in needing the ability to experiment with and A/B test different price points, packages, and free trials . . . well, it gets very complicated.

 

If we had tried to set billing up ourselves, we would have ended up with a much more convoluted structure because our pricing structure is complicated. Chargify makes it easy to manage and track all the elements of our complex pricing. It’s clear that Chargify really understands how a subscription business works.
Will Lord, Head of Product, EdPlace

 

He adds: “Chargify has also been helpful by giving us the ability to experiment quite a lot. It’s really easy to set up experiments and A/B test different price points, such as the difference between if we charge for a free trial or don’t.”

Security

Initially, EdPlace self-hosted their payment pages, but that solution wasn’t as secure as they wanted it to be. With the move to Chargify, the company uses Chargify’s hosted pages because their customers’ sensitive information is secured with the highest level of PCI compliance for a service handling sensitive payment data (PCI DSS Level 1 Compliant).

EdPlace also likes that their support staff can see enough subscription information to provide great support, but customers’ payment information is not visible to the EdPlace team. Limited visibility of sensitive data protects both the company and their customers.

Empowering customer service staff

EdPlace uses Chargify to help empower support staff and free up developer resources.

Prior to integration with Chargify, if an EdPlace customer had a billing question, a developer often had to provide assistance. The support team didn’t have the ability to look up or manage account related information which added a lot of friction to the customer experience.

With Chargify, EdPlace’s support team has access to the information they need to answer customer questions and provide responsive support. “The Chargify interface, and the way it’s set up, has made things 100 times easier for our customer service staff to be able to get a quick understanding of what’s gone on with a customer’s account, to be able to get a view of the transactions that have taken place, and quickly find the answer to customer questions,” explains Lord.

The result is an empowered customer service team, improved customer experience, and freeing up developer and product resources for use on other priorities.

 

Using Chargify has allowed our customer service team to focus on the experience and what is actually important for our customers. Chargify has allowed them a lot more control than they ever had before over what’s going on with customer billing.
Will Lord, Head of Product, EdPlace

 

“The other tools on the market are not super user-friendly,” adds Lord.

Receiving excellent customer support

Not only does EdPlace utilize Chargify to be able to provide great service to their own customers, Lord also points to Chargify’s customer support as one of the reasons the solution stood out as the best fit for EdPlace.

 

We chose Chargify based on the features and capabilities, and then we loved the support Chargify provided us! The support team helped ensure our onboarding and integration went quickly and smoothly. Throughout our entire experience with Chargify, the level of support provided has been incredible.
Will Lord, Head of Product, EdPlace

 

Chargify is an integral part of EdPlace currently and has allowed the company to focus on their core strengths and products. What’s next for this innovative online education company?

Continued growth & moving forward

In the immediate future, EdPlace plans to continue focusing on being a best-in-class online education platform by offering quality, teacher-generated content to students in an engaging manner for the UK market. According to EdPlace CMO Jessica Craker, in the next 2 years, the focus is on enhancing their educational content for both B2B and B2C customers.

With a passionate company vision, adaptive learning technology, excellent educational content, and a dynamic billing solution in place, it’s clear EdPlace has an exciting future ahead of them. To learn more about EdPlace visit edplace.com or sign up for a trial.