Connecting with Non-Returning Students

Every session, you open enrollment and watch students – returning and new – complete registrations for classes.

But you also know that there are some names missing. How do you find them and how do you (and even should you) reconnect with them?

Before saying more, let’s just say that this is incredibly crucial to your welcoming program, your competitive positioning and your customer relationships.  

Important to Understand Why They’re Not Enrolled

First of all, don’t assume that all who are coming up MIA have stomped away mad. There may be perfectly logical explanations for their absences from your list. You may be able to work with them to resolve unusual situations. You’ll never know this if you don’t reach out.

The vacay overlap. A family vacation may have overlapped with enrollment deadlines and parents feel embarrassed to reach out to you for help with a late registration pass.

Cost considerations. Financial challenges may force parents to make awfully difficult decisions about class enrollments for a particular session. They may not realize that you may have ways to help them with this. Again – they may be embarrassed to ask for help.    

Skip the session. Other commitments. They may be skipping this fall because of other commitments that trump their classes. If you know this is taking place, you can make sure that you are in contact with them as future sessions start to get them back on track.

Greener grass. They may have left for what they consider as better options with another organization. Their reasons for leaving for a competitor are critical information for you to possess. This information gives you the hard facts with which you can tweak your services or facility to prevent this from happening with others.

Now Figure Out the How-To

How do you go about getting this information from non-returning students? 

You must:

Get your list.

Getting the list of those students who did not re-enroll in your next session’s classes is easy peasy! It’s right there in Jackrabbit Reports. Enrollment Detail Report.

Right before your eyes. The Enrollment Detail Report provides the data you need to understand if your business is growing or not. It lays the information out right before your eyes. If your business isn’t growing, this report also helps you see why. Are students dropping because of the timing of a class? Do any of your instructors have poor retention rates?

Make telling comparisons. Using the Enrollment Detail Report, you can compare enrollment session to session – therefore you can see who was enrolled in one session but not enrolled in another session.

Make good connections. The information in the Enrollment Detail Report is gold to you in ensuring that you have the resources you need to connect with everyone you need to be connected to.

-Write your email.

This is probably the trickiest of the three things you need to do to reconnect with your non-returners. Carefully craft a message that will accommodate all situations and represent you as someone who is a helpful resource, regardless of what caused their absence your list.

What you include. Stress that:

  •       Classmates will miss their participation in class.
  •       Missing a session may put them behind other students in the class.  
  •       Confidential resources are available to their families that could help if there are financial or scheduling challenges.
  •       You will reach out when the next session rolls around with an invitation for the student to participate again.

Be genuine. Genuine, open and honest communication is best, so reinforce that you hope you’ll see the family in your studio/gym/school again very soon.

Use personalization. Use names when possible – talking about your organization by name and addressing the parent and student by name when possible.

-Send your email.

This is as easy peasy as getting your list! You can jump into Jackrabbit and set up your emails (or email versions) in the email feature there. You can send individual emails by selecting the recipients easily from your contact base. (Also remember that you can send mass emails to your entire contact base or to groups – families, staff, classes, or reports).

Yes, reports, isn’t that cool? So it’s as simple as pulling the Enrollment Detail Report and selecting the people in the report that you want to send your email to.

-Follow-up with responses.

Back to your Enrollment Detail Report in Jackrabbit. Now select those whose responses you’ve received (as a group or individually) and create and send the appropriate emails for them.

Always show appreciation. Regardless of what their responses are, follow-up each response with an email that shares how appreciative you are. Fill in details that fit each situation – making the responses more personal than the typical generic response they may get from a competitor. If you have a to-do associated with their response, make sure that you do it and provide the person with the information they need. If you feel the content of the response warrants a direct phone call, then make that call!

Exude positivity. Always keep a positive, engaging tone, and – as in your emails – express yourself with open and genuine conversation so you can comfortably reiterate your hope to see their student in class again in the future.     

Why Should You Connect?    

It’s very important to make sure that non-returning students and their parents know you would be happy to see them come back – even if they’re sitting out a session or leaving to go to a competitor. Don’t assume they understand this. Do we have to remind you what happens when you assume? Confirm it with a simple but thoughtful email.

Things can change. From a marketing perspective, it’s pretty critical to understand that you don’t know when their situation may change – and they decide they want to come back to your organization. Use a simple email to make sure they know your door will always be open to them. You have just made irrelevant any doubt or embarrassment about returning.

Gain market status. Yes set yourself up for a powerful competitive advantage if/when a situation change happens. You’re a leader because of the understanding with which you treat your customers and the value you place on relationships.

You could actually consider connecting with your non-returning students as part of your welcoming program. You really are making them feel welcome to return.  

Build relationships with positivity. Your parents talk. Those who have returned because you connected with them will share this good experience with others. This raises your customers’ elation level, solidifies their loyalty to your organization and will draw them closer to you because of the positive way you do business.

Add students back. And – ooh – what a bonus: you may actually get some students back as late entries for fall session because you reached out and added an incremental improvement to your student growth!

So there it is! Your entire process for connecting with non-returning students. Adding details like this to the way you do business make your organization a leader in your industry and market!

By |August 17th, 2019|Marketing Tips|0 Comments

About the Author:

mm
After studying graphic design at the University of Georgia, Jill held several positions in media and marketing including Art Director, Editor and Marketing Director. As a student of dance, she has spent plenty of time in children’s activity centers and puts that experience to work for her in the work she does with Jackrabbit. In addition to her interest in dance, Jill also enjoys sports, gourmet cooking, entertaining, singing and spoiling her five grandchildren.

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