Today more than ever it is important to stay connected with your customers, the parents of your students. Consistent follow-up requires a system, but it can be as easy as creating a simple schedule of dates on which to send out greetings, cards and e-mail updates. The good news is that once developed, it is easy to implement and, over time, you'll reap the benefits of a steady stream of repeat business and referrals. After all, it takes far less time and money to sell to an existing customer than a cold prospect. Remember that just because they are your customers today it doesnt mean they will be tomorrow! It takes more than good dance training to keep your customers happy people expect that, or they wouldnt have signed up with your studio in the first place. The key is to maintain that personal connection and you will have fans for life!

Today more than ever it is important to stay connected with your customers, the parents of your students. Consistent follow-up requires a system, but it can be as easy as creating a simple schedule of dates on which to send out greetings, cards and e-mail updates. The good news is that once developed, it is easy to implement and, over time, you'll reap the benefits of a steady stream of repeat business and referrals. After all, it takes far less time and money to sell to an existing customer than a cold prospect. Remember that just because they are your customers today it doesnt mean they will be tomorrow! It takes more than good dance training to keep your customers happy people expect that, or they wouldnt have signed up with your studio in the first place. The key is to maintain that personal connection and you will have fans for life!

8 Ideas For Staying Connected

 Thank-you notes: This is a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised to know how many entrepreneurs neglect to write thank-you notes, especially when they get really busy. Take the time to show your customers that you genuinely appreciate their business, and they'll remember your thoughtfulness. Buy a good quantity of blank cards to have handy as you need them. If youre creative, use your computer to make a customized design with your studio logo on the front; youll actually save money and get marketing mileage.

Postcard mailings: We like to send out monthly mailings that people will keep and talk about. A postcard format allows you to focus in on one topic that can run the gamut from "Student of the Month" to a useful tip like how to make a bun, how to master time management, how to handle a dance-studio related parenting issue or anything else that interests the bulk of your customers. Avoid being too promotional here. Just provide the kind of information that customers will want to hang onto. The added benefit to you is that whenever guests visit your customers' homes, they'll see your name, potentially leading to conversations about your business.

E-mail updates: Think of your e-mail update as a regular press release that you send to your client base. Providing them with product, service and customer updates via e-mail at least once a month will convey a sense of positive momentum. Whether the subject is an upcoming master class, a new teacher or a new line of makeup youre featuring, this keeps customers in the loop and, over time, gets them excited to be involved with you and motivates them to pass on referrals. It is also a great way to keep them updated on rehearsals and performance times and dates.

Getting together over coffee or lunch: Try to spend face time outside your studio with your best customers. Ask about their family, hobbies, personal goals and so forth. When you show customers that you really care about them on a personal level, you will reap the benefits both in business and in life!

Acknowledge birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions: These occasions are very important to your customers and their families and friends. Be among the few who actually remember a customer's special days, and that customer will never forget you! Take a personal interest: For example, if you find that a students mom has been sick, call periodically just to find out how she's recovering. People dont care about how much you know until they know how much you care!

Referrals go both ways: One of the most powerful ways to encourage loyalty in customers is to pass them referrals. At least twice a year, scroll through your customer database and think through people you know who might add value to your customers. We do this often with great results. If you want referrals, pass it on!

Always ask for feedback: Demonstrate that you care about the quality of your service. Call the parents of your students, new and returning, and ask them questions like: Was the registration process easy and quick? Did you find the front desk staff courteous and friendly? Do you have any questions we can answer? Let them know they should feel free to call anytime.

Customer service is not a one-time event, but a regular pattern that shows you really care. You cant fake it, and it takes time, but in a people business, its the foundation your studio is built on.