How do we support Kowalahs during a booking?
Kowalah is a 24x7 business. We have daytime bookings that start first thing in the morning, evening bookings that run through to the early hours of every night, and overnight bookings that mean at any point of any day somewhere there are Kowalahs looking after our customer's children.
That means our support needs to be 24x7 - we're so much more than a matching service connecting parents and Kowalah sitters via the Kowalah app - we want to ensure that both parents and Kowalah sitters have a great experience on the day of the booking itself.
In a childcare business safety of of the children is of paramount importance - but at the same level of importance is the safety of our Kowalahs, who are arriving in an unfamiliar house, often staying until late at night. We take our sitter safety very seriously, providing a social media background check on all parents that sign up, as well as ensuring we have a valid payment card on file. Many of the parents that sign up to Kowalah come in through a referral from another parent which increases the overall safety of the community.
On the day of the booking both parents and Kowalahs get an automated reminder of their booking details - when does it start, what is the location, how long is the booking for. All of this information is in the Kowalah app, but it often helps to provide a little extra reminder!
No-one likes to cancel - parents or Kowalahs - but occasionally the worst happens - a bug goes round or the car breaks down. Whilst we are lucky to have a very low number of cancellations from our Kowalahs - when we do we swing into action running an emergency Kowalah search to get a replacement. Typically the first thing a parent knows about a cancellation is when we call them to let them know that we've had to replace their Kowalah and share the new profile. The parents are normally overjoyed just to know they don't have to change their plans!
At Kowalah HQ our screens show all of our Kowalahs starting their timers in the Kowalah app. We know when every Kowalah is supposed to start and if we see a timer not started we are immediately able to call the Kowalah and confirm where they are. Typically it involves a country lane with no signage and we are able to use Google Maps to be the "eye in the sky" and help the Kowalah find the parent's house. We can also communicate with the parent to let them know their Kowalah is on the way!
During the booking
Once the parents have headed out for the day or the evening we provide back up to the Kowalahs while they work. Typical questions relate to activities that the Kowalahs would like to do like baking or games, or concerns about the house - in one emergency the kitchen roof collapsed because of a burst pipe and the team helped the Kowalah to connect with a local family for support while the parent returned from their evening meal!
At the end of the booking
One of the biggest areas of support is around the end of the booking - as we all know, once the wine starts flowing at a party time can often disappear and the estimated return time for parents disappears. This is challenging for many of our Kowalahs who also work full time during the day and accept a booking based on the estimated end time. An 11pm end time that becomes a 1am end time can cause a lot of frustration to a Kowalah.
As with starting the Kowalah timers, the Kowalah team are also reviewing all the timers stopping, and remain on-hand every night until the last Kowalah has stopped their timer. We don't leave anyone working a booking without support.
Why do we do this?
A huge focus for a business like Kowalah is rightly on the children and their safety - but just as important is the safety of our Kowalahs - driving off to meet new families, looking after up to four children in an unfamiliar house, late at night with other commitments to get to the next day. It's important that all our Kowalahs know we are there with them whether its an early morning booking at 6.30am, or a late night booking finishing at 3am.
When you join the Kowalah platform you definitely join a team! Feedback from our Kowalahs is this is a real benefit to them and all part of providing a great service.
Kowalah is a mobile app delivering On Demand Childcare across the Cotswolds by connecting parents with local babysitters and providers of childcare. Parents are connected with up to 5 available Kowalahs in 15 minutes giving them speed and flexibility. All Kowalahs have been interviewed and referenced providing parents with peace of mind.