Practice Parent “Attention” Techniques
I like to say parent attention causes retention. Parents want to feel welcome, appreciated, special. It’s the combination of little things you do to make your parents feel important that adds up to big value to them.
Parent attention activities can be as simple as helping them pack up their children’s belongings to hosting an event-filled parent appreciation week. Keep these activities parent-focused, easy to implement, and a little step beyond what your parents might expect.
How and how often you and your staff communicate with parents is a benchmark of your service in their eyes. Do they get a daily note about their child’s day? Does the teacher always acknowledge them and their child with a smile and friendly greeting? Are problems handled quickly and in a professional manner? Do the director and teachers communicate as though they really care?
Child care professionals have the unique opportunity to come face to face with their customers everyday. This is what Overpromise and Overdeliver author, Rick Barrera, calls, “Human TouchPoints.” How you and your staff communicate with your parents is far more than an element of exceptional customer service. It is a marketing discipline that can contribute to increased customer retention, reduced marketing costs, and competitive differentiation.
Ask What They Think
Monitoring what the customer likes and dislikes is not enough to insure satisfaction. It is also important to make a regular and systematic effort to identify what your parents expect of you.
Periodically ask parents to complete a survey, on-line or on the phone. Use customer comment cards or a suggestion box. Host a focus group of parent customers. Once parents know you really value their opinions, they will become more serious about making sure you get them.
Relationship marketing is a forever undertaking. If you commit to a program of ongoing exceptional customer service, you will find your enrollment retention at its highest level ever.