3 ways - To get closer to customers
Getting closer to your customers is essential to ensure that your business if delivering the very best experiences it can, not only in terms of childcare quality, but also customer service levels and meeting the expectations of parents which can often be more important than you would imagine!
Whilst the business is yours to run how you see fit, customer happiness and satisfaction should always be at the forefront of your mind and sometimes we all need to step into their shoes and see things from their perspective, it’s what will help you to ensure that you are delivering the very best customer service you can in all aspects of your business operations.
Here’s a quick look at 3 things you can do to get a closer to customers and understand a little more about how they feel, what they like about your setting and perhaps some things they are not so keen on!
I know, we’ve mentioned this before! …But that’s because it is so important!
Communication happens in so many different ways between childcare providers and their customers.
You communicate as a business via email, letters, online and through your use of social media, but each member of staff, manager or committee member communicates frequently with parents and key stakeholders, so it’s important to ensure a consolidated approach to your business messages and customer communications.
You may have noticed that several of our recent articles either directly or indirectly relate to communication activity; parent newsletters, parent contracts and marketing are all examples of how you communicate with parents and future customers. The way you communicate matters, not only the actual method you choose but also the image, approaches and attitudes you portray as a business. So the first thing to review is the consistency of your professional messages and approaches ensuring that staff are all trained and on board with the preferred company image and communication preferences.
After that take a look at your communication methods, do you communicate through the channels that your customers prefer and is the frequency of communication regular enough or too much? This balance is important to achieve, too much and people may not engage with it, and too little may mean you lose important customer comment and understanding.
Every opportunity to communicate with customers will take you one step closer to them and gaining insights into their needs and satisfaction with your services overall.
2. Customer research and feedback
Giving customers the chance to regularly give their opinions on your services, staff, attitudes, activities and approaches is a great way to build a complete picture of how your setting and services are currently perceived.
Asking for customer opinion shows a confidence and places a value on their views, which in turn leads to a closer relationship with them and strengthened loyalty. Be sure to act upon any feedback areas that indicate where improvements may be required.
Customer opinions on what their preferences are helps you keep in tune with what today’s parents are expecting or would find helpful, and hopefully you can find ways to adapt and improve with these insights in mind.
Gathering customer insights doesn’t have to mean formal customer research questionnaires, (although these are useful to do periodically), you can ask for feedback informally through normal daily interactions with parents either on a new idea, potential business improvement or just on random activities that may arise during conversations. What is important, however, is to record all feedback and review in your management meetings to search for new ideas, improvements and also highlight areas for immediate attention.
Creating memories with customers
Whether you are holding events or open days, celebrating either business or children’s achievements, there are plenty of opportunities to create valuable memories for parents to take away with them. This will happen naturally of course within your setting, but can also be a useful proactive strategy to engage and enthuse parents about the many and, often hidden, things your childcare business does well that they can share the delight in.
One thing holds true is that on reflection of past times people may not remember what was actually said or done, but will certainly remember how it made them feel, and generating that kind of warm feeling is a great way to keep your customers close!
For further discussion on customer management and other marketing techniques contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org