New parent visits – “Indifference” or “Enthusiasm” – your choice!
It's normal for most childcare providers to show new parents and their children around the setting to help them decide where to place their child and also to gain the sale of a childcare place.
"So, hands up, how many of you actually ask for the business?" By that, I mean, ask the parent to choose your setting over everyone else's.
In our experience it is not a very high percentage, and I can already hear you saying, "surely it's parental choice?" You are right it is, but what interests us are the key influences affecting that choice. Well for starters all aspects of quality of course, like; attitudes, empathy, environment, staff competencies etc., but did you know in a recent survey that parents tended to choose childcare as a "gut feeling" based on many influences like; show-rounds, friends, websites, BUT what's amazing is, quote;
"... it was most often felt, or confirmed, on meeting the staff / caregivers at a show round..."
"User research on childcare provision for parents" , Commissioned by Nesta, research by Uscreates). Check out page 11, "Key influences on final childcare decision",....... reading this research article may well change your business perceptions and could also enhance your marketing activities.
Think about the fact that by not articulating your desire to have someone’s child in your setting, could be seen by some as "indifferent" or "not bothered" and as the old saying goes..."people buy people".... so if parents don't feel good about you, or your team, for whatever reason, you are not likely to see them again!.... Genuine "enthusiasm"...that's what they want alongside all the other things they expect from a good quality childcare provider!
So what to do about it? ....... Develop a good "Visits Process" that focuses on the quality of your team.
Think about what these 2 words mean in your setting before you design your visits process "ATTITUDE" & "EMPATHY"
Arrange an appointment time - Make sure it's convenient and you can show people round without rushing, giving them your undivided attention!
Prepare a greeting - Make sure you have a great way to greet people and make them feel welcome, first impressions count! .....Don’t forget you have 2 customers to please........ children and parents!
Plan your actual visit process - Parents are interviewing you essentially! ...So plan out the way you want to show people your setting, play to your strengths but make sure you deal with all their questions. Show off your USP’s. Always be positive, you are selling your services! ...make sure your potential customers can feel a great attitude and empathy in your setting and let them know you really care.
Summary & questions - This is the point you summarise your services in a quiet area, (NOT by the door!), and handle any queries or concerns, (there's bound to be one or two), so deal with them positively and sensitively, this is a great opportunity to improve your childcare business too!
Show them you want their child to come along! - (or in business speak...closing the deal!!) - This is where you encourage the customer to take action and use your services. Be sure you have answered all their concerns first. Prepare gentle words to ask for their business and try to get closure before they leave.
"So you can see we have a great team here, do you think Gemma would enjoy some time with us?"
"It’s really great to meet you we are excited about the potential for Jonny to join us, when would you like him to start?"
"So if we can sort out the few concerns you have, will you be happy for Anika to come to us from next term?"
Follow up (and then close the deal!) - It's natural that not everyone will want to commit straight away, so if they can't respect their space and agree to call them in a few days to see if they have any other queries or are ready to commit.
It's all about continuous improvement - So if they do not choose your setting after all your hard work, always ask for honest feedback, and then go away and improve the area they were concerned about!