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How To Future-Proof Your Childcare Organization Amidst Inflation In 8 Steps

Inflation – yuck!  

If this is one of your least favorite words, don’t run away just yet... we’ve compiled 8 ways to combat inflation and rising costs for your childcare business.

The president recently curated a list of ways to reduce inflation. One of these initiatives is the Build Back Better (BBB) agenda. The BBB agenda provides greater access to childcare, enhanced assistance programs, and additional funding. With this financial padding, parents of young children can enter the workforce more easily. More childcare resources translate to more working families. And more working families means a recovering economy is on the horizon.  

However, it’s still crucial to safeguard your childcare organization against the backlash of rising costs. You can effortlessly thrive while the economy is restabilized. See proven ways to future-proof your centers.


8 Tips to Protect Your Center Locations as Costs Rise

1) Reinvent and Reorganize Processes

It's time to modernize. Most organizations follow a matrix structure. Simply put, it’s a basic hierarchy where one individual reports to another – all the way up the ladder. And just like any other industry, childcare must have levels of hierarchy to function properly.  

So, what’s the best way to adapt for the future?

One route is to build out and reorganize teams. If one of your veteran staff members are hoping for a promotion, use that as an opportunity to utilize their skillset and appoint them as program coordinators or enrollment specialists.  

Now, you have a happier employee and a designated role to ensure families remain loyal to your centers. Happy employees are more likely to create a positive parent experience that retains current families in your pipeline – which influences your revenue. Retaining families leads to increased profits down the line. In fact, it costs almost twice as much to prospect a new family. Keep families at your school year after year for a greater lifetime value per lead.

The key here is investing in your team to create a culture of loyalty.

Schedule a demo to learn how to simplify tasks for staff and increase employee retention.

2) Focus on the Parent Experience

The parent experience defines the journey a parent takes from initial inquiry to retention. But today’s parent experience is often a series of starts and stops that can take several months. It is inconvenient, time-consuming, and full of obstacles that cause families to choose another childcare center altogether. You’ll want to streamline your enrollment process to create a seamless experience for families.

How the Parent Experience Affects Enrollment and Retention

Each step in the parent journey represents a conversion point where parents can choose another center. Missing a few leads, not following up after a tour, losing parents that never completed enrollment paperwork—these seem like small things, but they all add up.

Let’s say you’re charging $900/month in tuition, that’s $10,800/year for each family. If you lose just 10 families from your pipeline, it’s costing you $108,000 per year in revenue. With an optimized parent experience, more families enroll creating an ongoing, predictable revenue stream. This will affect a center's bottom line and impact revenue year over year because it costs more to recruit new families than it does to retain your current ones.  

In addition, when parents feel their time is valued and their experience was simple, they’re more likely to give positive reviews and talk about you to others. They become your advocates. Their positive reviews pull in prospective families and influence their decision to choose or re-enroll at your childcare organization. Conversely, parents who have not had a pleasant experience scare off potential families with negative reviews.

See Important Enrollment Touch points and How to Improve Them

1) Initial inquiry – respond quickly. The childcare center that follows up first has an 80% higher chance of getting that enrollment.

2) Tour scheduled – provide self-service options. Let parents schedule tours online, at a time that works best.

3) Tour completed – follow-up until they enroll. Send automated texts and emails to engage families.

4) Waitlisted – if a family is placed on your waitlist, set up a campaign to send valuable content and consistently check in.  

5) Registered or enrolled – this is one of the final touch points. Impress families with fast options. Offer digital registration forms and online payments.  

6) Retention and re-enrollment – keep your enrolled families happy by offering a dedicated parent app that allows them to see their child’s developmental progress in real-time. Plus, allow families to make digital tuition payments with ease.

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Example parent journey

 

3) Increase Personalization Across Childcare Brand Touch Points

71% of companies that are using advanced personalization report either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ ROI (return on investment). Today’s parents are looking for a high-quality enrollment experience with tailored marketing communications. Personalization is about creating a natural conversation that engages your audience. Personalized campaign messages can drive a 10 to 15 percent revenue lift. Plus, families are more likely to trust your childcare brand if they receive personalized messages, which is crucial because inflation has weakened customer loyalty.  

Personalization helps combat profit loss from pipeline attrition.

You can customize your campaigns with personalization keys or merge variables. For example, your email open would say ‘Hi [Mary]’ instead of ‘Good Evening’ or ‘Hi There.’ It makes parents feel like your center is taking the time to get to know them and their child(ren). Because of this, you’re likely to increase parent engagement and boost enrollment. Easily segment your families based on the child’s age, classroom, or desired start date.  

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Personalized texting capabilities

4) Prioritize Speed with Automation

Repetitive tasks are lengthy.

Your staff becomes burdened, and families receive unsteady service. Further, wasted staff time costs businesses money. For example, if the average worker wastes 1.15 hours in an 8-hour workday, that adds up to $5,720 lost per year, per worker. This is dependent on the industry, but typically, lost time equates to lost revenue.  

During a sudden economic downturn, consistency is vital. Automation can help fill the gaps and eliminate time-consuming, manual tasks. Economic unpredictability doesn’t mean you have to slow down your growth. Truthfully, the right automation software speeds up your enrollment process. An automated CRM makes it possible to give families a high-quality enrollment experience amidst inflation.

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Example workflow automation

 

5) Get Spending Visibility: Know What Families Prefer & Adjust

Do you know where your money goes?  

Spending visibility enables directors and corporate leaders to fully understand where money is spent and who spends it. In an inflationary period, it is critical to establish end-to-end, actionable visibility of spending by cost category and enrollment process. Insight fuels decision-making.

For example, in a campaign ROI report, see which campaigns led to enrollments. This report helps you identify successful marketing efforts for your childcare business. Then, you can apply what worked to future campaigns. Use these to create and share internal best practices with your teams so they duplicate that success at other centers and for other enrollment initiatives. This will all lead to higher conversion rates and will help improve your ROI (return on investment).  

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Campaign ROI report

 

6) Create a Favorable Environment for Innovation and Collaboration

To maintain your competitive advantage, make room for adaptation and invention. Embrace technology, as it continues to drive the education industry forward.

Also, encourage staff, teams, and directors to collaborate. Have them communicate and learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Discover new approaches, marketing tactics, and growth strategies to design an innovative ecosystem.

To future-proof your childcare organization, you’ll need revolutionary perspectives. Value is created through networks where partners, communities, and employees share ideas. An ecosystem view recognizes business achievements as a joint effort. It’s a holistic perspective that attributes success to working together, with partners that want to build meaningful relationships. They develop trust and provide value to each other. Encourage recognition of all parties when your organization reaches a milestone.

7) Boost the Lifetime Value of Families by Adding Strategic Partnerships

A strategic business partnership is a long-term business relationship focused on creating joint value for two or more organizations. Spending time developing multiple strategic partnerships establishes an ecosystem view where great ideas feed off one another. Plus, they decrease your cost of acquisition (gaining families) and create predictable revenue streams.

For example, you may develop a strategic partnership with industry experts like educational coaches or friendly childcare businesses. Doing this may give your team inspiration for writing a groundbreaking curriculum. Or maybe you help a center refine their touring process by discussing your favorite parent-scheduled tours feature. Either way, it’s mutualistic.  

Further, strategic partnerships can drive growth through technology. For instance, a childcare organization may invest in...

  • A CMS (childcare management system) to improve classroom communication.
  • CRM (customer relationship management) technology that builds connections with families throughout the enrollment journey.  
  • A parent engagement app to easily communicate with families during and after enrollment.
  • Or a Childcare Experience Platform that's all 3 - CRM, CMS, Parent Engagement - in one.

8) Invest in Your Future: Discover Profitable Technology

Or get all you need to achieve childcare success with LineLeader – the first and only platform that delivers full-fledged customer relationship management (CRM) software, parent engagement, app, and childcare management software (CMS) - unifying your technology. Ditch the multiple subscriptions and disjointed products with a state-of-the-art platform that’s redefining the childcare industry.  

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LineLeader by ChildcareCRM on multiple devices

Intuitive technologies are the future of business. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, you need to invest in childcare-specific technology that benefits your organization. Solutions like LineLeader by ChildcareCRM help cut down on administration and enrollment tasks. This ensures your staff have more time for initiatives that help build additional revenue streams.

The future is uncertain – but the foundation of your childcare business doesn’t have to be. Let LineLeader by ChildcareCRM take the weight of the world off your shoulders.  

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Meet The Author

Hope Dasher is a marketing professional with years of SEO content writing and social media strategy experience. With a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Dallas in Psychology and Child Development and an emphasis in language, she has extensive knowledge in the childcare system, effective marketing strategies, and copywriting. Hope serves as a copywriter for ChildcareCRM’s marketing team.

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