Child care may not be your typical service business, but every parent is a customer and it’s necessary to establish quality customer service practices. Even if your daycare is a one-man band.
To help you, we’ve assembled a list of best practices and ways you can adapt them to become the child care customer service practices you need.
1) Hire and Retain the Right Staff
If you want to develop great child care customer service, a big part of your efforts should go towards finding and retaining quality staff.
Staff in this case means both caregivers and management assistants. As a daycare owner, you should know when you’re getting in your own way due to the workload, and hire suitable people to replace you.
When hiring, turn to relevant channels. Our first instinct is to go digital: Craigslist and Indeed are good ways to find suitable employees, but don’t forget about other options you have.
One of them is word of mouth. Everyone networks so the caregivers who work in your daycare may know other caregivers looking for employment. This is where a referral bonus comes in handy, since you’re motivating your employees to help you with more than taking care of kids.
You’re automatically creating a positive company culture of growth. You need to build a team, and what better way than quality attracting quality?
The next step is staff retention. Child care is a stressful job and it has a high turnover rate, so do the most you can for your employees in order to develop the best child care customer service.
Invest in your staff in ways big and small. This may mean organizing opportunities for them to relax and feel appreciated, or building trust and cooperation within the team.
Whatever you do, keep the communication open so your employees feel satisfied enough to show your daycare in the best light.
2) Manage Customer Expectations
There’s nothing worse than a customer who feels like you broke your promise. It can happen in the best daycares, but it’s important to know why the customer feels the way they feel.
- Are their expectations realistic?
- Have you led them on with your advertising?
- Has something changed in your daycare that stopped you from keeping the promise?
Things can go wrong but if something changed, notify your customers. Everything can be solved with good communication, so make sure you’re keeping them in the loop.
You may also feel a pull towards sugar coating your daycare’s qualities. That’s great, as there’s no better way to boost your enrollment like differentiating your daycare. Just make sure that you are being realistic.
In order to have a great child care customer service, the customers need to feel what you’ve promised in the way you work. If they can’t, there’s bound to be some broken hearts – or at least, broken relationships.
3) First Impressions Matter
There’s nothing like a good first impression to seal the deal and make the parents love your daycare. It’ll make the rest of child care customer service a piece of cake.
When giving a daycare tour, be professional and provide the parents with necessary materials. With time, you can even assemble a FAQ parent handbook that answers most of the questions from the get-go.
Resolve their doubts immediately, and show that you understand. Most of the time, parents feel like they shouldn’t be that concerned (but they can’t help it). Show them that it’s natural, and that you are here to help them with whatever questions they have.
Don’t forget: first impressions start with your advertising. Make sure that your daycare’s personality stays true to what you promised.
4) Gather and personalize information
Nothing can help your child care customer service as much as understanding your customers.
You want to know what works and what doesn’t. With the latter, you also need to know why it doesn’t work.
For example, 90% of parents in your daycare like your work hours. But the other 10% are very vocal about needing extra time or more flexibility.
They could switch daycares and find something that works better, but taking kids out of an environment they know and love isn’t good for their development. That’s why they’d like you to adapt your approach.
On the other hand, that’s not easy for you as a daycare owner. It requires a lot of detailed scheduling that you’re not sure you want to risk if the parents are going to change their minds.
This is the best time to look into reasons:
- Are their work schedules shifting?
- What industries do they work in?
- Do they need more time for themselves?
If it’s a permanent need that many other parents have, this can be a great way to differentiate your daycare and attract more clients.
Scheduling can be made easy, too. Hopping In displays your daycare’s availability so parents who need extra care can book spots with a click. They can also drop spots they’re not going to use so other parents can re-book them.
It’s a great way to earn by filling the unused spots at your daycare and get to the place where (in the true spirit of child care customer service) you can say: yes, we do have a waitlist. What else can we help you with today?
5) Keep Improving
The best way to succeed is to improve.
By staying in touch with your customers’ needs, you can create an incredible child care customer service. You don’t even have to get a customer service agent.
Like everything else in your daycare, it should be perfectly integrated into your mission. Keep your staff satisfied, keep your customers satisfied and keep your daycare growing.
If you use Hopping In, you can even do it while keeping yourself blissfully stress-free.
Are you ready to focus on your customers?
Try Hopping In
Author: Hopping In Blog
Sholom Strick is an expert on the business of running daycare centers and founder of Hopping In, a tool that helps childcare centers and family daycare providers fill unused spots.
To contact him or for media inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org