A child care industry veteran and friend, Dennis Vicars, always uses the acronym, CARE, to describe the little things center directors and staff can do in the center to help retain enrollment. CARE stands for Customer Attention Retains Enrollment. In my last blog, I presented some ways to take outbound actions to retain parents. Here are some little in-center ways to show you care and really make the families in your center feel good about you – and stay!
- Beverages station in entry. Busy parents will appreciate a beverage station where they can get a quick coffee, tea, or water at drop-off and pick-up times. An occasional basket of snacks will show you understand their busy day ahead, and want to be helpful in making it a good one.
- Everyday greeting. Yes, every day. Make it a goal for you or your assistant to acknowledge parent with a greeting, a smile, or a wave (if you are otherwise engaged) when they drop-off and when they pick up. It makes them feel like you care about them, that they matter, and that you appreciate them. Your friendly greeting may be the nicest one they get all day. When they know you will make an effort to make them feel good, every day, they want to stay.
- Parent resource hub.
A secret to retaining families is to constantly position yourself as the knowledgeable, helpful, professional resource they can trust. Start by having bulletin boards that document learning and the quality of your program. Provide a parent resource area in your school where parents can access good parenting books, lists of local events for families, FAQs on early childhood development, and other resources. In your newsletter, include links to events in your community, helpful articles, list of good children’s books and programs, and list of resources on specific topics such as biting or kindergarten readiness.
Little things like these make a big difference. When it comes to building customer relationships, author, Harvey MacKay says, “Little things are not little things. Little things are everything.” Begin today to add creative little things to the attention you give parents to show you CARE.