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Enquiry conversion rates

Do you know where your enquires come from and what your average conversion rate is?

Any enquiry from a parent about the possibility of using your services for their child is not only an opportunity to secure more take up, but also provides you with more knowledge about your business than you might think. It is just another example of useful management information that can help you with business insights and support your strategic and operational decision making.

What is a conversion rate?

In the context of take up of your places, a conversion rate is the proportion of total enquiries received that actually end up in a parent taking a place at your setting.

Some childcare providers use this measure to understand more about how customers perceive them, where enquiries come from and how they develop, gaining more understanding of how to improve their services and business activity to grow and flourish.

Enquiries come from different directions

New customers will make enquiries using different approaches that will eventually blend into a core process or journey to securing a childcare place. This “customer journey” will have some variability between childcare providers, but contain many of the same elements and usually end up with a visit / “show-round” before people commit to a place. Each individual childcare provider would gain strong information by mapping this customer journey and tracking enquiries from all sources to see how they develop and any drop out points where potential customers leave the process and perhaps why.

Understanding when people sign-up or drop out

There is the potential to record conversion rates to compare which method works best for securing new customers, and to highlight at what point the majority of parents agree to sign up to a place.

For example take up of a place is not necessarily guaranteed for those using waiting lists, as parents may just sign up to give themselves and option and choose another provider nearer the start time. In this case your conversion rate would indicate an ineffectiveness of the waiting list strategy.

Another example could be the conversion rate for parents who have attended a show-round. You would expect this to be reasonably high, say 70-90% as you have a chance to show your setting and abilities face to face and its usually the last step in the customer journey. But if it is much lower, there are definitely reasons for that and by getting direct feedback from parents at that stage will help you improve areas of your business that are making parents look elsewhere for a place.

Steps along the customer journey

Here are some steps along the customer journey where you can record parental interest and activity and start to develop an understanding of conversion rates and hence customer behaviour. It’s possible for a parent to sign up at any point along their journey, but unlikely that they would bring their child to you without a visit first, so you would expect this point to be the one where parents sign up, all previous stages are just for parents to develop their interest in you, learn more and these are all perfect opportunities for your marketing messages, so plan them to encourage parents to move to the next step.

A.How they heard about you:

- Referral from another parent / staff member

- Your advertising

- Self-research online

B. Initial contact points:

- Checked your website and completed your admission form

- Checked your social media posts and platforms and messaged you

- Email

- Telephone

C. What they do next:

- Just gather more information

- Request a visit / “show-round”

- Join your waiting list

- Take up a place or end their interest

What can these business insights tell you ultimately?

Firstly by mapping out your typical customer journey you get to understand a few things:

a. The overall conversion rate matters most - Obviously what matters is that you are aiming for an overall conversion rate of close to 100%, probably not achievable consistently but always strive for excellence! The breakdown of how their journey evolves will give you feedback on the variety of routes that parents take in researching childcare and any weak areas you have, helping you improve your systems, communications overall conversion rates.

b. The marketing techniques that work best - By tracking customer behaviour along the process you will learn so much about the current “wants and needs” of parents and that feedback is essential for you to keep up with emerging trends and deliver what they want.

c. How parents initially heard about you - This is good information to assess your marketing activity. For example, if most enquires come from referrals from other parents, then it’s worth considering what other marketing / advertising you could do to reach different parents and extend the initial opportunities for parents to find you and get in touch.

d. How parents make a first contact to you - Again this is useful to know because you can compare the various ways in which parents can get in touch and see what is most common. Leaving you open to improve other areas for initial contact that might not be working so well like say, your website contact form or social media messaging.

e. What parents do next - Knowing just exactly each step a parent takes in their customer journey to securing a place builds up knowledge on what’s working well and areas to improve. For example, if only 3 in 10 people who join your waiting list actually take a up a place, you may decide to change the operation of your waiting list to encourage a better conversion rate. You can get direct feedback as to why they didn’t choose you and use that to improve the situation on the points that have put parents off.

All this business information and more from a simple spreadsheet!


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