When providing lessons for children in a swim school, gymnastics center, or other sport, the quality of communication with parents is one of the key drivers of business success.
Quality communication leads to strong relationships
Relationships = Retention
Here are 5 tips for improving communication with your parents to strengthen relationships.
1. Help new customers get to know you with an onboarding sequence
Most businesses under-communicate with new customers. The first 90 days are critical to setting the foundations of an ongoing relationship with customers.
If you are starting an intimate relationship, you don’t have just one touch point and expect a strong relationship, yet we often treat our customers like this.
An onboarding sequence can help you build a stronger relationship with your customers (parents) via multiple touchpoints.
Just like in building a friendship or intimate relationship you can use different methods of communication.
This might include emails, SMS, phone calls, videos as well as human-to-human communication.
An onboarding sequence should be largely automated, so it happens automatically when a new customer enrolls their child.
Here are some onboarding ideas that our clients have used successfully in their businesses.
- Welcome video
- Introduce key staff
- Key policies – eg. Make up lesson policies
- FAQ – Frequently asked questions?
- SPEAR email (for short, personal, expecting a response) – Hi Amy, how is Tom enjoying his lessons with us so far?
- Check-in phone call
- Tips for getting the most out of your child’s lessons
These examples help a customer understand your business and ensures they (and their children) get the most value from it.
An onboarding sequence can be set up and automated using the right software program. For example, our First Class software has an onboarding functionality built in so you can set up and customize your own onboarding campaign.
2. Progression feedback - Give customers feedback every 90 days
Parents who have enrolled their children in your lessons want to know how their child is progressing.
Many providers make the mistake of not providing detailed feedback to parents and this impacts the customer experience and can lead to preventable attrition.
The most important communication point you can have with customers is to provide feedback on progress (even if a child is not ready to move up a level)
When a child is not ready to progress often a parent is left in the dark. Perhaps their child is very close to moving up and only has one or two skills to master.
Providing parents with feedback fill in the silence and prevents them from making assumptions that can lead to their frustration growing.
With our clients, we recommend using our skill tracking and assessment functionality to provide parents with a detailed “progress report” which they can see via their customer/parent portal and app.
Our customers use detailed grading words- for example- introduced, refining, and competent.
This gives the parents a crystal-clear understanding of how their child is progressing.
Ultimately parents just want to know that they are getting value for their investment in lessons for their child and providing regular feedback can help demonstrate the progress that is happening (even if a child is not ready to progress to the next level or stage).
3. Ask for feedback
It is important to be continually trying to improve your business.
The best way to improve is to get direct feedback from customers.
Those who understand their customers’ needs the best typically win in business.
This makes getting feedback from parents who have enrolled their children in your lessons critical.
A great way to get feedback is via surveys.
We recommend to our customers do an NPS survey (Net Promotor Survey)
The NPS helps you track your customer satisfaction by giving you a promotor score. You can then monitor how this improves or declines over time.
It also helps get specific feedback by asking people who have provided a lower score how they can improve.
The ideal frequency for an NPS is once every 6 months.
Another great way to get feedback is to directly ask parents.
Randomly call 6 parents and have a short 3-question survey where you can ask them directly over the phone. You can often get more valuable feedback when discussing a topic rather than getting feedback digitally.
Another option is to ask your email database for a short 1 or 2-question survey.
For example – What is the one thing we could do to improve the customer experience at our swim school?
4. Don’t forget human to human interaction
Our final tip for improving communication with your parents is to not forget human-to-human interaction.
Our software for swim schools, gymnastics, and other sports lessons helps make communication scalable via bulk email and SMS, list segmentation, and automation. However as great as these tools are nothing replaces human contact.
Make an effort to maximise human-to-human touch points with your customers.
This could be by having “supervisors” interact with customers at the point of lessons or reception staff greeting customers by name as they arrive
Or it could be calling new customers to see how their first month has been.
One way to mix technology with more personalized content is to use video. This allows you to communicate with customers and bring some personality into it.
Body language and tonality are a massive part of communication and help us build rapport and connection with customers and video can help you build this connection in a scalable way.
5. Develop a communication plan
The best starting point in improving your communication with customers is to develop a plan.
Consider mapping out a new customer’s journey and plan out all of the touch points you would ideally like them to have in your business.
This helps you understand strategically where certain touch points should go.
For example, there are certain things a customer should know before their child’s first lesson.
You may also want to get a yearly calendar and plan out various dates for certain types of communications. For example, when will you send out progress reports to customers, when will you remind customers about a new term starting, etc?
Once you have your plan established you can go about setting up various communications and touch points within your class management software.
If you are interested in improving communication with parents in your swim school, gymnastics center, or other sports lesson business, First Class Software has the tools you need to delight customers including bulk email and SMS, automated communication triggers, list tagging, and segmentation, skill tracking, and more.
For more information go to firstclassretention.com