As a Child Care Success Coach, I am always listening for and learning things that will help me coach my clients better. So as I was visiting with my neighbors last night, and the talk turned to running a business, my ears perked up and I joined the conversation with a “now you’re talking my language” kind of attitude. Little did I know that is was going to be my neighbor to remind me of the MOST important thing when running a business!
I own child care centers, my neighbor owns a yoga studio. At first glance, they don’t seem very similar, but when you peel back the layers of what the business product is, to how to grow the business, it became very similar.
Growing the business, which in our case would be enrollment building, is the same for any service related business. Think about that for a minute. Every service related business is wanting to grow their clientele to become more profitable. What makes one service related business grow and another one crumble? What types of service related businesses do you continue to go to, while avoiding others? What is it that tips you over the edge to become loyal to one place vs. another?
I sat and listened to my neighbor’s story about how she grew her yoga studio and realized it could be my story, or your story. Then I realized if it isn’t your story, it should be. She spoke about how when she bought the studio she made it her mission to learn every clients name, and to use it in conversation. She told me that when a new client took a class, she would call them in the evening to welcome them to the studio and to ask how the class was and if there was anything they could do to improve, and then she invited them to return. She spoke about building customer relationships and spending time with clients and really making the effort to know her clientele. Then she told me after she started doing these really simple, human, things – her business grew, her classes doubled, her profits increased – in short, her vision of her business became a reality.
I listened in awe as I realized that sometimes in the excitement of everything we learn, everything we try to implement, that we lose that one most important element in our business – the human touch.
People want to be noticed. People want to be called by name. People want to feel valued. People want to know that you care about them. Isn’t that what makes one service business grow and another crumble? What makes you go to one service business while avoiding another? What makes you loyal to one service business vs. another? The answer is YES! And if you are not tapping into the extraordinary power of the human touch, then you need to start now!
From the moment a potential family calls you center, you can start these amazing loyalty building techniques. Ask for their name and use it during conversation. Greet them when they come in for a tour and shake their hand. Make a connection with them and bond over things you have in common. Call them after the tour to reaffirm your desire to have them join your school. When they come for their first day of school, meet them at the door, use their name, be excited they are there. At the end of the first day – the first week, month, year – call them and thank them, ask them what was great about the day, ask them what you can improve on, and actually make the changes they suggest. Learn all of your current families’ names and use them often when you talk to them, let them know you care about them, that they are valued, that they are more than just a tuition number to you.
These things are the most important things. People do business with people, not businesses. How simple, yet how often do we get carried away with other ideas of ways to grow our enrollment. This is the foundation. This is where you start. Build your base, make it strong. And then stay tuned to The Child Care Success Company for all of those other great ways to grow your enrollment!
If you would like help with tips to build your center’s enrollment and to strengthen your loyalty fence (keep more clients long term) then sign up for our next Enrollment Boot Camp.