The parents whose children are currently enrolled in your center are your most cost-effective marketing resource. How they feel they are treated by you and your staff can cause them to become loyal customers, or drive them into the waiting arms of your competitors. How can you help those parents become customers who are not merely satisfied with your services, but enthusiastic ambassadors for your center? You do it through an ongoing process I refer to as relationship marketing.
Relationship marketing begins the moment you secure the enrollment. After parents have made the emotional decision to place their child in your care, they need to feel confident that it was the right choice. They need to be able to trust that you will truly deliver the quality education and loving care and family services you said you would. They need peace of mind. You must provide exceptional customer service along with a progressive top notch program if you want to create customers who wouldn’t think of leaving and who refer your center at every opportunity.
Use the techniques in this blog, and part 2 next week to help you master the exceptional customer service that is the cornerstone of relationship marketing.
Do what you say you’re going to do. If you promote a quality program, illustrate that quality to the parents through bulletin boards, newsletters, outlines on the parent communication boards, and projects the children bring home.
I visited with Gloria and David Bender, administrators from Colegio Mexico-Americano Preschool in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where they promote the use of the Character First curriculum. Parents of enrolled children tell them story after story of how their children illustrate these character development traits at home and in the community. Do they believe this school delivers? Yes. Are they telling all their friends? Yes! Colegio Mexico-Americano now is at 100% capacity and has more children on their waiting list than they have enrolled!
Flexibility is a password in today’s workplace. As parents attempt to balance their lives with flexible work schedules, job sharing, and telecommuting, their early care and education needs will be less traditional or consistent. Be open to options to retain those good customers. Keep in mind that if you can accommodate them, not only will they stay, they will help you market by telling many others how your services make their lives easier.