As the pandemic regulations gradually lift, many parents are still uncertain about enrolling their children in the very preschools they either previously selected or have investigated and put on their short list. I call this category of parents “On Hold” prospects. Even if these “On Hold” families registered earlier in the year, they may still have anxiety about the safety of sending their children back to the school. What about those parents who have to return to a workplace, or know their young children are regressing in social skills, or who just simply cannot work at home productively anymore with a toddler and preschooler needing their constant attention? They still are hesitant.
So what can you do to help these “On Hold” families, who need you, recognize that they can feel comfortable enrolling now?
Make your safety protocols part of the conversation. You have likely taken Herculean steps to make your school clean, safe, and constantly monitored for any signs of the virus. Make your proactive approach part of every inquiry conversation with prospects, put a COVID FAQ page on your website, do videos of your drop-off and pick-up procedures and post them or send the link with follow up messages, display your latest cleaning techniques and equipment on social media. The more proactive and open you are, the more you will gain their trust.
Initiate communication with “On Hold” families, prospective families, existing families, and even with key referral sources. Reach out with updates on the latest regulations, how you are adapting, what spaces you have available, and how you are practicing constant diligence with the safety of children, staff, and families. Parents are looking to you to assure them that their children will have as little exposure as possible. Decide proactively exactly how and to whom you will communicate if a child or staff member in your school tests positive for COVID. Now, more than ever, most parents respond well to transparent communication.
Maximize the use of positive parent testimonials. The families who have decided to enroll and feel their children are safe in your school, are one of your best sources of referral. When you get a positive comment from a parent of an enrolled child, ask if you can capture the comment in writing and on video to share with others who are “On Hold” or who are new inquiries hesitant to complete the registration process. Get permission from these parents to share their comments in all your digital and print marketing efforts. The third party endorsement these reviews give you is a huge factor in helping families get beyond their fears to trust you and enroll.
Now, more than ever, parents need to see you as the knowledgeable, helpful, caring expert they can trust. With these techniques, you will be genuinely helping them make a good decision for their child and family and moving them successfully toward acting on your recommendations to enroll their children safely now. They need you as much as you need them. When they can enroll without fear, it is a sigh of relief for both of you.