At Signet, we take a very different approach from most other tutoring companies when it comes to offering tutors to our clients.

While other companies may have default tutors for subjects, a first-come first-serve approach, or a random rotation system, we believe that a carefully constructed tutor-student match is essential to the success of a relationship.

In fact, we’ve structured our entire client on-boarding process around discovering that match.

With over 80 talented and highly qualified tutors to choose from, we take our matching process very seriously. In fact, every morning and afternoon, our client team (client coordinator, CEO, manager, and tutor coordinator) meets to discuss every incoming request and pairing.

In that client meeting, we synthesize all of the information that we have about a request—much of it from our proprietary tutor-matching-form—to assess who from our staff we think will be the best match for each student. We take a holistic look at what a student needs from a tutor in addition to educational background, school background, learning styles, hobbies, goals, personality, etc. We then select several options and allow the client to make the final decision.

No matching process can ever be perfect, so in the few times a year that we don’t get it right, we go right back to the drawing board, without charging for the first session, and do it again. However, based on our results, I think we’re doing a very good job: over the last year, fewer than 3% of our matches have had to be re-thought.

Here’s how a client meeting earlier this week went:

10:00 AM - Adrian, our client coordinator, rang the YouTube gong to start the meeting around his computer. Seriously.

10:01 AM - Greetings, quick catch-ups. This is our daily ritual, so we take a bit of time just to check in and say hello after our relatively quiet 9–10 AM work hour.

10:02 AM - Case 1: A parent emailed this morning about setting up SAT tutoring for his daughter. Adrian runs down the list of specifics from her survey, telling us a bit about the student and the request. We then navigate to our internal web app’s database page. Using the information that we store, as well as our personal, in-depth knowledge of our SAT tutors, we find two tutors who we think are a great fit. We select one because we know that she has worked with a few students in the past who have had very similar profiles to this student. We select the other because the tutor and student have a strong common interest in dance (the tutor was a former professional dancer and the student is currently training at a very high level, something we learned from the matching survey). Adrian will then send both tutors bios to the client for review.

10:12 AM - Case 2: A parent has emailed us about a complex student performance issue. The parent knows that her 11th grade son needs extra help in math, but her son is not open to tutoring. Adrian describes the specifics of her request and the student’s needs based both on his conversation with her and on our matching survey. We then discuss the case in depth, drawing on our collective experience (at least one—and usually two—people in almost every client meeting have over a decade of tutoring experience that we draw on): What seems to be the biggest issue? What are the parent’s biggest concerns? What boundaries are we operating within? And, what cases have we dealt with in the past that are similar? Once we get a better sense of the case, we then dig into our tutor list to determine who we think are the best options. We look closely at personality, experience, educational background, and temperament to find a few great options. Adrian will then send those to the client for review.

10:20 AM - Case 3: This one’s a doozy—a college student needs last-minute advanced biochemistry help. Based on Adrian’s rundown of the case, we look at our biochemistry tutors and select three possible options. Despite the rush on this one, it looks like we’ll still be able to staff it well.

10:23 AM - Case 4: Where do we go for lunch? On Thursdays, the Signet staff goes out to lunch together to catch up and spend a bit of time with each other. Just as we believe that great relationships lead to great tutoring, we also believe that great relationships in our office lead to great service.

10:25 AM - All hands in for our morning “Go Team!”