Almost every studio has at least one competitor in the area and if you do, it is important to determine all of the ways that your studio is different and then find moments to let both current and future customers know all about those differences. So how can you assess what your best selling points are? Make a list of the top ten ways that your studio provides the best service to both students and parents. Sometimes, just compiling a list will help you to realize not only what great things you are able to give to anyone who walks into your studio but also of the areas where you need to make improvements.
Competition is actually a good thing as it makes us sit up and really take note of what we are doing and what we are not doing! Next make a list of the top ten questions that people ask you or your front desk personnel when enquiring about classes at your studio. What are the main questions future customers ask and what questions do current customers want answered? This list will help you gauge exactly what it is that your customers are really interested in. Perhaps it is location or convenience of classes or maybe they are really interested in teacher qualifications and experience. How many times does the word "fun" come up in the conversation? Is the first question they ask when they call, "How much are the classes" or are they more interested in finding out if their child's friends will be in the same class? Numerous questions will come to mind but by making a list of the top ten questions it will really assist you in determining what your customers are looking for. The next step is to make sure that you and your studio staff are doing your best to fulfill the expectations and services that your customers are seeking.
I also like to make a list of what questions I would like my customers to be asking and then see how close I am to what the reality is. Educating our customers, both students and parents is an important aspect of our success. If we do not constantly help our parents and future parents to understand why we do things the way we do and why it is beneficial for both them and their children, they will not appreciate what you do for them. The purpose, as always, is to build loyal customers who will stay with us for years. There will be some customers who will not understand the value of what you are offering no matter how much education and good information you give them and they are the ones that really need to go to your competitor. We have had a few students who decided to try out our closest competitor's program only to return a year later with a greater appreciation for our program and what our studio has to offer them. Very often those customers become very loyal once they get the idea of how truly different and outstanding your studio is.
Do you have a really good answer when someone comes in and asks how you are different to your competitor or do you give them a vague and self conscience reply? It is sometimes hard to come out with praise for yourself, so it is not a bad idea to have a good statement about your studio and what it offers. Something that rolls easily off the tongue and can be delivered in a positive and relaxed way, to anyone that asks. Make sure if you have front desk staff that they have the same statement to give anyone that calls or comes in. The more ways that you are able to let people know what makes your studio different from others, the more you will be able to establish credibility and fulfill the customer's desire for the variety of services that your studio has to offer.
I would also recommend sitting down with your staff and faculty to see what views they have on the subject. They may very well come up with something that you either hadn't thought of or perhaps didn't see as important. Using the people around you who are working in your business to get different perspectives on what your customers are looking for and what makes your business special, is invaluable. Choosing a few of your best customers to get an insight as to why they like your studio and what they would like to see different will be helpful also.
At the end of the day, understanding what works and what needs improvement at our studio will help us to continue on to the road to excellence in both training for our students and customer service for our parents.