Zachary Rosensohn: Cater to the Younger Generation

The latest interviewee for our blog series, Zachary Rosensohn, has to create an environment of efficient communication for both his employees and his clients. As a manager for College Planning Partnerships, that means finding a style that works for high schoolers – read on for his insights into the benefits of mobile messaging.

Zachary Rosensohn, tutor and manager for College Planning Partnerships (Photo courtesy of Rosensohn)

Zachary Rosensohn has worked with College Planning Partnerships, the family business, for a long time. He created educational material in high school, designed and managed the website in college, and now tutors there full-time and serves as Director of Operations for the college essay clinic. Given his involvement across the spectrum of CPP work, Rosensohn has a unique perspective into the communication needed to keep up with the newest generation:

“I feel pretty strongly that students these days – and I know this from my experience with tutoring – communicate primarily by text message. We grew up when we didn’t always have that, or even email. Now, these younger generations are having full-blown conversations in texts. It’s just the default today. Plus, the relatively informal nature of texting creates a more comfortable environment. Texting can help break down the barriers between them and their tutors – who may be their parents’ age – because of the informal tone that goes along with it.”

Rosensohn has long provided the “young person’s perspective” for this family enterprise, so it’s not surprising that he’s bringing this spirit to his managerial role:

“For me, I don’t think that I have a true preference between texting and calling and emailing; my preference is based on efficiency and, honestly, the path of least resistance. We work with teens going through the college application process, so it’s very important that our students feel able to communicate with us as much as possible. That’s our biggest thing. We want them to take advantage of everything we can provide. I really, truly feel that this comes down to forcing yourself and your company to adapt with the times and communicate in a fashion that your client base prefers. You’re going to see your best results when you adapt and make sure that you can communicate with your clients in the way that they prefer. The idea of, ‘The client is always right,’ is really at its most true when you’re figuring out how to communicate with them on a regular basis. High school students like texting, which means they’re more likely to keep up with it versus, say, formal emails from their tutors. As a tutor and manager of tutors, then, I like texting too.”

CPP uses Lua to connect students to tutors, so he’s seen first-hand how this attitude can work:

“One of the coolest things I’ve seen is that we’ve created a service by introducing messaging-based communication that allows our students to operate as adults. We’ve, in a way, cut out the parents as middlemen. Comparing the number of texts sent now versus emails before, there’s been increased activity. Shifting the accountability to the student has created this increase. Imagine that. Operating with this increased responsibility, in a way that’s comfortable for them, has sparked more communication and commitment.”

Finding a style of communication that works on both sides is key to a business built on employee-client rapport. Texting may be a high schooler’s native language, but Rosensohn has gladly found that its informal freedom benefits his employees as well:

“To make sure our tutors stay engaged and motivated, we have to make sure that they build solid relationships with their students. And that does go back to the level of communication. In any business, if you communicate, you’ll be more motivated to do your job to the best of your ability because you feel like you know your clients. But poor communication can be almost as bad as no communication, which is what you sometimes see with email when people are sort of bound by the formality of it. We’ve seen that messaging, on the other hand, has given more freedom to our tutors to do their work in their own style. We give them a structured line of communication, while allowing them to communicate how they choose. That’s empowering. That’s motivation.”

Do you also have mobile management or communication insights? Comment or email us at! CPP uses Lua to connect students and tutors: learn more about the features that make this possible here.