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Using Customer Service as a Differentiator to Increase Family Retention

Hey everyone! Today, we have Imogen Shelton, the Head of Customer Success and Service at LineLeader by ChildcareCRM. Her team works hard to get our customers through onboarding and beyond, to stand-up, adopt, and gain value from the LineLeader platform that will further the mission of childcare success.  

She currently lives in Austin, Texas with her two sons and husband. Her children have been in full-time childcare their entire lives, so I have a deep respect and commitment to the ECE industry! Today she's going to dive into the importance of customer service to increase family retention. Let’s get to it!  

Bob Hooey once said, “If you don’t take care of your customer, your competitor will.” While this may seem like a general statement, it also applies to the families in the ECE space. In fact, one study  shows that 9.5% of your revenue could be at risk due to a bad customer experience. On the contrary, your business can increase revenue between 4%-8% just by prioritizing the customer experience. 
Essentially, the families at your centers deeply value their experience, and a good experience could make a huge impact on your business. Let’s explore how you can use customer service to increase revenue and family retention. 

Let’s dive in! 🏊

Using Excellent Customer Service to Boost Re-Enrollment 

It’s no surprise that today’s parents have evolved and what they want has changed. Parents want automation with personalization. In fact, 76% of today's customers say they become frustrated when personalization is lacking. Automated emails, texts, and enrollment are central components to every modern childcare business.   

According to Gartner Research, 80% of your future revenue comes from 20% of current customers.   
So, you have to make the customer experience seamless and accessible for the current families at your centers. Creating efficient orientation processes, keeping turnaround short, prioritizing personalization, and having more than one method to get in contact with families is the KEY to retention.  

Proper Orientation Processes Ensure Confidence in Your Services 

The key to re-enrollment is making the process seamless. This requires effective organization, communication, and a focus on the needs of the parents and children. Here are some steps you can take to streamline the process across all your center locations:  

1. Appoint a parent experience team or coordinator. Your team or coordinator should be trained in customer service and have strong interpersonal skills. Essentially, they should be guiding the parents throughout the entire process.  

2. Develop a family handbook Having a comprehensive welcome packet for new families that include essential information, such as center policies, emergency procedures, and contact details, will increase confidence in your organization and decrease the amount of questions parents may ask leading up to and soon after their start date. 

3. Streamline enrollment. It’s important to offer the families at your centers an optimized enrollment process. Look into investing in a childcare CRM system to streamline parent experience, from first inquiry to enrollment.  


Why Response Times Are Vital for Elevating the Customer Experience 

How quickly your enrollment staff, center directors, and teachers respond to families is a  key part of the parent experience. Today’s parents want immediate response and expect to communicate in ways that are easiest for them – digitally, through text or a mobile app. In fact, studies show that if you aren’t responding in a timely manner, you could be losing 79% of your potential families, including the families that are already enrolled at your centers.  
Quicken your response rates by streamlining how the teachers at your centers share information with families. With a childcare CRM system you can automate replies during enrollment, use tools like telephony to record voicemails for faster follow up, and automate daily reports. You can also be proactive by using automated portfolios to share information with parents before they ask.

Ensuring Empathy in Customer Support

Studies show that 96% of customers will cancel and leave your organization for a competitor’s due to a bad experience. 

The customer service experience starts with people. While today’s parents do prefer self-service options, there’s still a need for actual customer service representatives. Your customers should have more than one way to reach you. Some ways they should be able to reach you are email, live chat, phone support, or even a mobile app. 
Furthermore, when it comes to ensuring empathy within your customer support program, it’s essential to hire the right people. Be sure you’re employing customer support agents who naturally exhibit empathy and have strong interpersonal skills. Here are some strong characteristics to look for in a great family experience agent:

1. Active Listener: Your staff should be skilled at actively listening to parents, asking clarifying questions, and not interrupting while they’re speaking. 

2. Patience: Dealing with frustrated or upset parents can be challenging. A good staff member remains patient and composed, even in difficult situations. 

3. Problem-Solver: The ability to identify and solve parent issues efficiently is crucial. A good customer service agent should be resourceful and can think on their feet. 

4. Respect for Policies and Procedures: Company policies and procedures should be followed when serving parents at your centers - this ensures consistency and compliance with standards. 

5. Continuous Learner: The ability and willingness to learn and adapt to new technologies, products, and evolving customer needs is essential for long-term success. 


Provide a Positive Customer Experience and See Family Retention Increase

In conclusion, the customer experience is the cornerstone of success for childcare organizations seeking to boost re-enrollment rates.  
By prioritizing every aspect of the parent and child journey, from streamlined enrollment processes to empathetic support, your organization will create a nurturing and trustworthy environment that parents are eager to return to. 

And that’s a wrap!

Thanks for tuning into this week’s tips. Our Executive team will be posting new blogs on LinkedIn regularly, so be sure to subscribe for updates on more industry-leading topics. 

P.S. Follow our social media pages for additional tips and suggestions (we’ve even got blogs made especially for your teachers, your directors, and your specialized admins)! 👇 


Meet The Author

Asyah Jiron is a marketing intern with professional experience in field marketing, content, and advertising. She attends the University of North Texas and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a Marketing concentration. Asyah is passionate about growing her marketing knowledge and always tackles any new challenge thrown her way.

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