Once a family enrolls, your retention job begins. It is the last step of successful enrollment building. Most families give you what I call a “probation period” of 2-3 months, to see if they made the right decision for their child and family. They look for their child’s adjustment, how welcome they feel, and the delivery of expectations.
Here are three easy actions you can take to keep families enrolled.
- Confirm the enrollment decision. Make new families feel welcome right away with a formal welcome letter, a branded gift, and a call to let Mom/Dad know how the first days are going for their child. Even if you use webcams or a real-time communications app, a personal call is that extra little step that makes a difference and shows you really care.
- Parent Ambassador contact. Within the first two-four weeks of enrollment, have your parent ambassador assigned to new families reach out via phone or email – or both – to welcome the family, answer any parent-to-parent questions, and invite the new family to join them at a parent event. Research shows that families search for the right child care goes beyond finding quality early care and education to a place where they will have the opportunity to build community with similar-minded families. The sooner this begins, the more likely you are to retain them.
- Engage families between registration and enrollment. If there is a time lapse between a family’s enrollment registration and the child’s actual start date, initiate contact with them to engage them in the experiences their child will have in your school. Include them in invitations to parent events during this interim, send them your newsletter and other articles of value, such as a piece offering advice on saying goodbye at drop off and how to manage feelings around a new experience or transition.
The more personal attention you give new families, the more welcome they will feel and the more likely they will be to stay. As my colleague, Dennis Vicars, says, “You must show that you care, because Customer Attention Retains Enrollment.” It’s the little things that make a big difference in enrollment retention.