Did you ever skip school?

For kids who skipped school way, way back in the day, a truancy officer would show up at their house to drag them back to class. Embarrassing! Intrusive! And incredibly effective.

Times have changed, and most schools don’t have a truancy officer chasing kids around town anymore. But the concept is still super valuable for online course creators who need to make sure their students are coming to class.

Let’s face it. It’s entirely possible…and astonishingly normal…for someone to purchase a course, spend anywhere from $50 to $2000, get an email with their login credentials, and then never even bother to log in.

It doesn’t matter that they’re excited, they’ve invested their money, and they can’t wait to get started. Even with the best intentions, life gets in the way. (Thanks to Ryan Deiss of Digital Marketer for summing it up in those words. “Life gets in the way” is the perfect all-purpose way to describe how customers feel when they buy a product but can’t find the time to use it.)

So, what happens when life gets in the way? For most online course customers: NOTHING. No one checks to see if they’re actually using the course. No one sends a reminder to log in. No one follows up via email after a few weeks.

No one seems to care that their students are playing hooky.

That’s one of the most devastating mistakes a course instructor can make. Now, read this next paragraph, memorize it, print it out and tape it to your computer:

As a teacher, it’s your job to care whether your students come to class or not.

Otherwise, you’ll be staring down a whole lot of refund requests when your thirty-day-money-back-guarantee kicks in. Refund requests from customers who haven’t logged in and haven’t learned anything from you.

That’s worse than leaving money on the table…that’s pouring money down the drain.

When you have a million dollar product launch, you might find yourself with a refund rate between 15-25%. That’s a quarter of a million dollars walking out the door in the pockets of your unsatisfied customers. Depending on your payment processor, you may also have to cover the 3% credit card processing fee on top of the refund! This is vitally important – you’re not just losing POTENTIAL revenue when people refund, you’re losing ACTUAL money out of your ACTUAL wallet to cover the costs of doing business.

Now, imagine how much worse it would feel if your refund rate was even higher than 25%. Imagine how bad it would be if 30%, 40%, or even 50% of your customers never bothered to log in and take your course.

Suddenly, your million dollar launch is sliced in half.

That’s absolutely unacceptable, for an online business or for any business.

It’s your job to make sure this scenario doesn’t happen. It’s up to you to be the adult in the situation…the leader, the teacher, the truancy officer. Someone has to make sure your students log in and take your course – and that someone is YOU.

That means paying extra special attention to what happens AFTER you make a sale. It means checking to see that each and every new customer has received their log-in credentials…and actually logged in. If they haven’t, it means following up with them until they do.

Because if students don’t log in to your course, they’re not going to learn anything. And if they don’t learn anything, they’re going to want a refund. Not only that – they’re probably not going to buy another product from you. You’ve lost all of the future potential revenue that comes with each bright and shiny new customer.

Talk about pouring money down the drain…now you’re robbing yourself of potential revenue.

So, the question is: Do you make sure your customers get logged in?

If the answer is yes, amazing! A gold star for you. You’re on the right path to refund reduction, customer retention, and building lifelong, mutually beneficial relationships with your students.

If the answer is no, don’t despair! You can implement your own Truancy Officer Plan TODAY.

First, call up your tech guy or gal and ask them to pull a report of every customer who has purchased a course but has not yet logged into your system.

Next, hire a Virtual Assistant or use your existing customer service team to email all of these customers. Let them know that you completely understand how “life gets in the way,” and remind them that their course is ready and waiting for them.

If you’re a Summit Evergreen user, the process is even simpler. All you have to do is log into the platform, select “Reports” and then “Inactive Users.” In just two clicks, you can pull a report of everyone who hasn’t logged in yet.

Then, send them a quick message to remind them to log in and start learning.

Just like a truancy officer who knocks on your door, a short reminder email is incredibly effective for getting your delinquent students back into class. Don’t be surprised if your students actually thank you for the reminder. They want to learn from you – that’s why they signed up for your course! And they need someone to help them stay focused on their goals when life gets in the way.

You’re looking out for your students’ best interests…and that’s the BEST way to build a healthy, happy business.

About the author: Keith is the co-founder of Summit Evergreen, and helps course authors, product creators, and self-funded businesses increase their revenue from their existing traffic.