Have you ever had a name disappear off your class roster with no idea why? Sometimes it’s hard not to take that personally, but that’s the name of the game when you own, manage, or work at a youth activity center.
There are certain things you can do to try to prevent lost registrations from happening. Your first step is having your registration goals laid out. Once you have these, we have a few tips on how you can grow retention and repeat registrations at your youth activity center.
Identify your target customer
Depending on what type of business you are, your location and what type of classes you offer, your target customer can vary significantly. A ballet studio in Los Angeles is going to have a different target customer than a swim school in Nashville.
Ask yourself some questions like ‘What does the parent and child’s normal day look like?’ and ‘How do they consume information?’. Identifying your target customer early on helps you save time in the long run. You will get an idea of the best way to approach marketing to them and be able to better predict their behavior.
Create a communication strategy focused on your target customer
First step, identify the target customer. Check. Second step, create a communication strategy focused on that target customer.
Communication strategies don’t have to be hard. Have an idea of how your target customer digests information – email, text, social media, etc. – and then decide on the best frequency to contact them. (Here are some tips on how to stay in contact with prospective customers ->)
With all of the daily changes going on at your youth activity center, something you may think is minor, may be important to parents and students.
Have a class change? Give parents and students an explanation.
Hired a new teacher? Introduce them.
Completed the schedule for recitals or performances for the year? Send it out.
You get the picture, right?
It is very hard to over-communicate and your students and their parents will appreciate the thought. Don’t forget to have those two-way conversations too. Answer questions and do your best to get back to customers in a timely manner.
Create a personal connection
Creating a connection begins the second the student is enrolled. Give out a welcome packet with important information. Show them around and introduce them to a teacher or two. Make sure that your student’s parents have contact information and all of those need-to-know details.
Other ways to create personal connections:
- Incentivize staff to learn every student’s name by the end of their first lesson of a new session.
- If you can use a customer’s first name in an email, text or conversation in the lobby, do it.
- Learn student strengths and weaknesses – parents love to know about their child’s progress!
Have any other ideas on ways to make a personal connection? Share your idea in the comments below!
By creating a personal connection, your students and their parents are more likely to stay with your youth activity center for the long run and feel like an integral part of your community.
Upon enrollment, make sure you provide all of the details your parents and students will need to be successful at your youth activity center. Setting expectations for everything from, if parents will be allowed to view their child’s class to any charges they will see on their account throughout the year will help build trust in you and your program. By providing this information upfront, there will be no surprises as they continue their relationship with your youth activity center.
Take feedback seriously
As I’m sure you already know, there are many platforms people use to give a review or feedback on an experience – Google, Yelp, Facebook, word of mouth and more.
As a business owner, it is important that you listen and respond to these. Whether you agree with what was said, acknowledging a complaint or comment will go a long way for other people who are reading or listening to them.
If you hear feedback that isn’t in line with your youth activity center’s values, take the time to investigate. It’s never too late to make positive changes and it will encourage repeat registrations.
Diversify your offerings
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Experiment with new class types and program offerings to attract new customers and keep the ones you have enrolled. Utilize live-streaming to securely let grandma watch little Suzie in swim class every Tuesday. Encourage your instructors to share their area of expertise in an engaging and informative format, whether that be on social media or in a monthly educational event for students and teachers.
By offering something unique, you will be leaps in front of the competition in your area.
There are a myriad of ways you can use automation to grow retention. Automate your communication by scheduling regular emails. Collect tuition through online payments then automate the process of posting fees and processing payments. Post policies to the Parent Portal for parents to sign electronically without having to wait for staff help.
Measure customer lifetime value
Calculating your customer lifetime value is a great way to help you plan your marketing efforts for the next year and see how your revenue may be affected. Here’s how you can calculate it:
Average Tuition Frequency
Average Student Lifespan
Your Customer Lifetime Value
Consider rewarding repeat customers
Customers that continue to come back to your youth activity center can often be your best marketing tool. Create a loyalty program that rewards them for repeat registrations. Or prorate tuition for families that have more than one child attending your program.
You can do things throughout the year that can make customers feel special – provide snacks on a random Saturday morning, send a thank you card, throw a holiday party – the possibilities are endless! It doesn’t have to be expensive, people just like to feel appreciated.
Growing customer retention and repeat registrations are a big way to help grow your business. You already put in the hard work to get customers, so put in the work you need to keep them. It will save your youth activity center money in the long run.
If you’re interested in learning more ways to increase your revenue – download Jackrabbit’s Optimizing Your Revenue Cycle eBook. You aren’t going to want to miss it.