Do you service your car regularly?
I have found there are 2 types of people when it comes to getting their car service.
Type A – There are those who will service their car on time, every time, without fail.
Type B – And then there are those who will service their car only when something is starting to go wrong. The engine is sounding rough, or a light is flashing on the dash.
When I first started driving, I was more of type A. I wanted to save money and servicing the car felt like a waste so I would hold off as long as possible.
Over time, I slowly progressed to a type B and now I get my car serviced at least a couple of times each year. This prevents more major problems arising from minor problems that are ignored for too long.
The same can happen in a swim school. If you do not regularly review your performance at a swim school, little problems can turn into bigger ones.
To help swim schools enhance their performance we have created a 6-point swim school service, which much like a care service will keep your swim school running optimally.
We suggest you perform this “service” every 3-6 months.
6 point swim school service
1. Check growth rate
Look at your active student numbers.
Have they grown in the last 6 months?
How do they compare to the same time as last year?
Have you grown? Have you declined? Are there any concerning trends
If you are using First Class Software, you can easily take this information from the active student reports found on the dashboard and within the reporting menu.
2. Calculate retention rate
The next step in your swim school service is to calculate your retention rate
Customer retention is arguably the most important metric when it comes to sustainable swim school growth.
It is much more efficient to keep the customers, you have already got for longer rather than to continually replace them with new customers.
To calculate retention or what we call customer attrition (the percentage of customers you lose in a period) you take the number of canceled or lost students and divide it by the starting number of students from the start of that period.
Eg. If you lose 25 students in the month of September, and you start with 500 students.
25/500 = .05 or 5%
This means you have lost 5% of your customer base in 1 month.
An ideal target for monthly attrition is less than 2%. This means if you have a swim school of 1000 students, you will lose less than 20 students.
By calculating attrition performance, you can see if you have an underlying problem that will slowly cause a decline in your customer numbers and revenue.
Again, if you use First Class software you can easily get these numbers from your dashboards and reports.
3. Occupancy rate
Often swim schools are running inefficiently.
For example, you may have 2 classes for the same level, both have a maximum of 4 students and both currently have 2 students enrolled.
This would mean that these classes have an occupancy rate of 50%
A lower occupancy rate means you are running less profitability than is possible.
You when have classes half full, you still need to pay the instructors and have the overhead costs of running a swimming school.
Without regular reviews, occupancy can drop and you may need to re-arrange classes or focus on marketing to fill in the gaps.
It can also be useful to look at occupancy in terms of specific levels and days to ensure that demand is being met.
Again, if you use First Class, you can use the occupancy report to quickly analyze this data.
4. Waitlist check
The first 3 points of the swim school service are a bit like checking the key metrics of a car.
Is oil low? Is coolant low?
Now we have a gauge of where key metrics stand, we can take action to improve any metrics which are low.
It’s always best to start with the low-hanging fruit.
Most swim schools have spots available to fill and these can be filled with a small amount of effort.
The first place to check is your waitlist.
Many swimming schools have students on the waiting list who can be moved into a class.
Often spots will have opened up and you have students on the waitlist waiting there to be filled into classes.
On the weekly scheduling view in First Class, there is an option to filter open classes that have students on the waitlist.
This allows you to quickly identify opportunities to move students into available spots.
By making such moves you will improve your occupancy rate and enhance your swim school’s profitability.
5. Email past customers
The next step in our swim school service is a strategy to try and fill available spaces to grow your active student numbers.
Many businesses overlook past customers as a source of business.
In the swim school space customers often take breaks. They may drop their kids out for a term or two during the cooler months or during months when other sports are in season.
Often, we see swim school enrolment numbers drop by as much as 20% during the cooler months.
This is where it pays to stay in touch with past customers.
A short message can prompt action.
Try this and be shocked by the results.
Send the following template to ALL past customers for the past two years.
Hi, first name,
We only have a few spaces left in our term 4 swimming program.
Would you be interested in enrolment details?
A short email that is framed as a question is a fantastic tool to evoke a response.
Many will politely reply with a decline however this one strategy can quickly generate dozens of new enrolments.
If you are using First Class Software you can use the inactive students list with filters to target past customers with this communication.
6. Retention email
The final step in our swim school service is aimed at improving customer retention.
There are many things you can do to improve customer retention however perhaps the easiest one is to help connect with your customers.
A short and personal check-in message that invites a response can be a great tool to show customers you care, identify any issues, and strengthen relationships.
Take this template and send it to all active families.
Hi, first name,
I am just checking in to see how “child name” is enjoying their swimming lessons?
Is there anything we can help you with or do to improve your experience with us please let me know.
Swim school name
Again, if you use First Class software you can send this template via the active students list.
In summary, if your swim school has high retention, strong customer acquisition, and high occupancy profitability and success will take care of itself.
A regular swim school service will help you tune up your performance and maximize your ongoing success.