In this article, I want to start off with an exercise that will get your brain thinking.
First, think of your favorite place to go and think about why that is your favorite place. What pops into your head that gives you happy feelings when you think of this place?
Now think back, have you ever had a bad experience at this place? What happened? Did you go back? That’s the key question! If you did, why did you give them another chance?
Now think about YOUR clients at your child care program. Have your families ever had a bad experience with your business? I hope you are honest with yourself, because no person, no business is perfect 100% of the time. We’ve all been guilty of having a customer who has had a bad experience with us. The question is, do they leave or come back even though they had a less than stellar experience with you?
If they come back it is probably because you have done a lot of work to build a relationship with this family, to build a loyalty fence. We expect a lot from the people we choose to do business with, and when they deliver it, it keeps us going back. … our families and staff expect the same from us!
Your loyalty fence starts here. It starts with the first impression your clients (and prospects) have of you. It starts with the very first steps you take to make sure you are communicating with them – that they are not falling off your grid. You want them to think happy, good, goose-bumpy thoughts when they think about your business, and it starts with your follow up system.
Here are five simple steps to help you create (or improve) your own follow up system:
First – Choose Your System
You will need to choose a system that has the ability to house your customer (and staff) data. Whether that is a spreadsheet, an installed program, a service such as ProCare or Child Care CRM. It doesn’t matter exactly what the system is as long as you and your team can implement it consistently and it can do the following:
- Ability to send automatic emails (drip campaigns / e-packets)
- Ability to manage your calendar
- Ability to set tasks
- Ability to send reminders
- Ideally a CRM program that you can set up the business rules once, and they will repeat for each entry into the database
Second – Review Examples
As you are working to create or improve your follow up system, look at what other people are doing to find ideas to model (not copy). If you are a part of our Child Care Success Academy ™, there are several member examples provided for you in our members area to spark your own ideas. If you are not part of our group, look to other businesses (even outside our industry) and how they are handling follow up. You are sure to find some great ideas. Think outside the box. Combine your own ideas with the examples you plan to model.
Third – Create Your Follow Up System
Get out a legal pad and start mapping out your ideal and specific follow up steps. Think about what you want the customer to experience after they contact your business. Make a detailed plan.
What should happen on day 1, day 2, day 7, day 10 after they first make contact with your school? Then write your drip campaigns and create an email packet to match your plan. Create a system to remind your director (or enrollment specialist) to make a follow up phone calls at the right times. If sending a thank you note or gift through the mail is part of the follow up system, plan how that will be carried out, etc.
Fourth – Delegate
You can create the most dynamic follow up campaign ever, but if you don’t have the people in place to carry out your plan, it won’t get done. So, make sure that each step is assigned to a specific person (or role) so it doesn’t fall through the cracks.
Automate as many steps as possible. Set up the needed business rules and reminders in your CRM and/or calendar system. If it can’t be automated, create a system that is easily followed by your whole team every time so your customer follow up experience is consistent.
Make sure your team is trained on how to complete these follow up steps. They should be given an overview of the entire plan, but be specifically trained in the nitty-gritty details of the parts they are responsible for. Then hold them accountable to the written plan.
You will want to consider giving them a budget to spend (on specific steps in the plan). You can also consider bonusing or giving incentives to your team when they complete the follow up systems and it results in more enrollments.
Fifth – Be Present!
If the goal of your follow up system is to have awesome customer loyalty and retention because everyone is so happy with your program, you’ll (or your representative will) need to be present, be seen, be attentive, be compassionate. You’ll need to be the person you would want to do business with.
Even though you do need to create a checklist and delegate tasks to carry this out, you actually need to be an active and present part of the plan. You’ll need to do whatever is in your power to make your customers feel special and important – like they are true VIPs. You need to show that you CARE. Show them the love in more than just electronic communication. Show up in person.
Always put your customers first and learn to see them as long-term partners in your business, not a quick cash flow.
As the business owner, you get to decide the type of experience you want your clients to have. You are also the example your team will follow – model these behaviors of putting your customers first, make them part of your culture, and your team will soon become partners to make every client’s experience truly exceptional.
I hope you feel like you have a plan to start creating a dynamic follow up system so you can convert more enrollments to tours.
Imagine how different your school will look a year from now if you begin implementing a solid Follow Up System today!