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The Dance Studio Re-Opening Series, Part II: Optics

Type:

Studio Owner Article

Category:

Improve Staff and Customer Communication

Reality is… Your customers perception is their reality

Most people believe what they believe and chances are you are not going to change their minds. We all look through a different lens and view the world and life in our own unique way. That is why I say a person’s perception is their reality. We cannot change someone’s mind or how they perceive things but we can change what they view on the other end of that lens they are looking through.

There is a great old saying that the first impression is a lasting impression. In many ways it is as if your customers are walking in the door for the first time. What impression will you be giving when they enter? Remember one size does not fit all. Some of your customers will think one way about the pandemic and others will view things another way. The debate is on regarding wear a mask vs no masks in class. So how you navigate through all of this will be challenging. My only recommendation is safety first. So, if it is mandated that masks be worn inside, I think you should have your students wear them for at least a good portion of the class. Then when dancing full out each group could remove them for that period. This may or may not work for you. But I can tell you that some of your customers will not want their child removing their masks at all and other won’t want them to have to wear them while dancing.

There is an old saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But in today’s environment it is not just beauty. Each person will view everything they look at and make a judgement call as to whether they think it is safe for themselves and their children.

Here is where as business owner’s, optics will be a BIG key to getting your students back in the door. So, if you have not yet done so consider the following enhancements to your studio

  1. Automatic hand sanitizer dispensers: We purchased these on amazon. They are a bit pricy but they work well and can dispense a disinfectant foam or liquid. The best part is no one has to touch anything. They are battery powered and we have several attached to the walls in high traffic areas of the studio.

 

  1. Plexiglass at the front desk: This is again something that parents will see right away. We have suspended ours from the ceiling but you can attach it to the front deck if you like. Also purchase one of the digital thermometers  so that someone can check temperatures of students and parents. This is a big message right from the get go.

 

  1. Marking out your studio: You can do this many different ways. We chose to do six-foot boxes on the floor marked out with some kind of tape (pictured above). We used frog tape which will not damage the floor or leave a sticky residue. Each dancer will stand in the middle of the box. It will also give you a great idea of how many students you can have in a class at any given time and help facilitate easy social distancing.

 

  1. Brand new welcome mat out front: This may seem trivial and unimportant but I can assure you this is a simple yet very effective message. We have also added a “Thank You” mat on the other end of the front door facing outward so that customers see it as they exit the build. Think about it, Welcome and Thank You. Word and sayings that we can all agree are nice to hear or read!

 

  1. Masks worn by faculty and staff at all times: God willing, this will not have to last very long but for now it is highly recommended. It will again send a loud message to your customers that their safety is a high priority to you. I know and understand there is a lot of debate over this but until further notice, wear a mask and make sure all of your team does as well when they are in the building

 

  1. Clean, clean and clean. We have a cleaning service that comes three days a week but in-between keep disinfectant wipes handy and have your staff keep wiping things like chairs, barres, desk areas after each class. Bathrooms should be wiped down as much as possible. It would also be great to have parents and students see you or your staff doing this.

 

  1. Keeping your customers up to date with safety enhancements: Every time you put in place some new level of safety makes sure you send out an email to your families letting them know what they are and that your front desk staff talks it up to parents who come in or call. Some of these measures may be mandated by your local authorities and other you may just want to add. The key here is let EVERYONE know what you are doing.

 

So, there you have it! I am not suggesting these measures are not important and that you should take this lightly. What I am recommending here is that you give lots of visuals so that your customers know and understand that their safety is the number one priority to you.

In our next post, part three, we will focus on reengaging your customers

 

Author

Steve Sirico

Steve Sirico

Originally from Norwalk, Ct, Steve excelled in track and football. He attended the University of Tennessee at Martin on a sports scholarship. Deciding to switch and make his career in the world of dance, he studied initially with Mikki Williams and then in New York with Charles Kelley and Frank Hatchett. He has appeared in a number of theatre productions such as Damn Yankees, Guys and Dolls and Mame in New York and around the country and in industrials and television shows. He was contracted to appear as the lead dancer in the Valerie Peters Special a television show filmed in Tampa, Florida. After meeting Angela DValda during the filming they formed the Adagio act of DValda & Sirico appearing in theatres, clubs and on television shows such as David Letterman, Star Search and the Jerry Lewis Telethon. In 1982 they were contracted to Europe and appeared in a variety of shows in Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Italy before going to London, England where they appeared as Guest Artists for Wayne Sleep (formerly of the Royal Ballet) in his show Dash at the Dominium Theatre. Steve is Co-Director of the very successful D'Valda and Sirico Dance and Music Center in Fairfield, CT for the past thirty years. His students have gone on to very successful careers in dance, music and theater. Author of his Jazz Dance syllabus and co-author of a Partner syllabus both of which are used for teacher training by Dance Educators of America, He has also co-authored two books one for dance teachers and one for studio owners in the "It's Your Turn" Book series. Steve is co-founder of Dance Teacher Web the number one online resource for dance teachers and studio owners worldwide. He is available for master classes, private business consulting and teacher training development

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