While a customer may find you by accident, whether or not they stay with you is a conscious choice!
These days, when there are so many options for children’s activities that you must inspire your families to stick with you. And what really sends them over the top is you. Well, more specifically, it’s their experience when both parents and children are in your school.
Regardless of whether your school is large or small, you can create memorable experiences for every family and student that comes through your door. These memories will be indelible imprints that are triggered each time a friend asks them about where their kids take lessons. This is how you create loyal customers and great evangelists for your school.
It’s easier than you think. It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture and it doesn’t need to cut into your profits.
Personalize the experience in person and online.
Examine your customers’ behavior to learn their preferences and habits and then cater to them in an individual way when you see them in your school and when you reach out to them electronically.
Making notes in Jackrabbit allows you to keep little details that can make your interactions with your families very personal and very effective. Keeping track of information such as those among your families who attend extra events, the mothers who respond to requests or students who purchase from your store can give you great basic information for personalizing communications with these customers. Sometimes being the preferred choice is about the special attention or added extras that show you care that they are your customer.
A Parents’ Wine Tasting Night instead of your typical Parents’ Night Out is a great idea for making your school’s parents feel special. Gift wrap items from your store when you know it is being purchased for a gift. Some stores always use cute decorative gift bags with matching tissue paper and ribbon just so every purchase feels special.
Sometimes parents are very excited about gestures of appreciation that have nothing to do with your business. Maybe you present parents with massage coupons or healthful grocer gift cards when you want to thank them. This is also a great way to support your neighboring local businesses.
Show parents you care about their kids. Knowing details about your students is critical for teaching them but it also helps you to WOW them with their experience as well. Recognize birthdays and milestones. Talk to them about what they do (outside of swimming). Learning about special experiences and remembering them in conversations with students, shows that you’re interested in them as people – not just as kids in your classes. Parents will notice this and appreciate that you do it.
Know Your Customers
So all of these “personalizations” require that you know your customers. Without details, you can’t create the WOW experiences that will make a difference in your relationships.
To do this, you don’t have to be intrusive. Sometimes it’s as simple as paying attention! You can learn lots by just listening in your facility. Have conversations. Ask what else they do besides swim. Ask what their plans for the weekend are or what they are going to do over spring break or winter holidays. Talk to parents and learn more about their interests, their careers and their families. Track this information and use it to personalize the next conversation you have with them.
If you distribute a newsletter and can track your click-thrus, be sure to look at who looks at which content. This will give you mountains of information about each particular family’s interests and needs.
Use your Facebook Business page to take a poll. This may not tie identities to answers but it will tell you what your parents’ consensus feelings are about any number of topics.
You also may choose to survey your customers to learn even more about them. Be sure to track this information too – and use it!
You may not be able to remember minute details about every customer and student. Perhaps you can start by getting to know your most active families first. This is often a good strategy because of the 80/20 rule where 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers. Not only will this engage your best customers even more, it will also encourage and inspire referrals from them.
This is Your Secret Weapon
It is proven that small businesses that engage with their customers have a competitive advantage over those who don’t make the effort. Getting to know your families and students on a personal level results in better service and gives you elated and loyal parents and students who will spread the good word about you to their friends.
Take advantage of this distinct differentiator and bring it to the next level by creating a wow experience and then personalize it whenever possible. The more personalized the wow experience is, the more memorable it becomes, therefore fueling your repeat and referral engine.