In this crazy busy world that we live in it is easy to forget the niceties of life but if you take that extra step to help someone out or be extra courteous to them both you and your business will definitely stand out in a crowd. So many people skip some of the basic manners when dealing with people that it is like a breath of fresh air when someone goes out of their way to be of assistance.

In this crazy busy world that we live in it is easy to forget the niceties of life but if you take that extra step to help someone out or be extra courteous to them both you and your business will definitely stand out in a crowd. So many people skip some of the basic manners when dealing with people that it is like a breath of fresh air when someone goes out of their way to be of assistance.

It is definitely not always convenient or desirable to meet our customer’s needs and I certainly don’t suggest that you let your customers run all over you or take liberties with your time. How many times have you been closing the studio at night and there is one student who hasn’t been picked up? I always feel so badly for the child because they are usually so embarrassed to be sitting there waiting and I feel so mad with the parent when they show up a half hour after the studio should have closed and don’t even bother to get out of the car and apologize for keeping me out extra late. There have been times, on the other hand, when a parent has been so remorseful that they have not only come in the door to pick up their child but arrived the next day with a present as a gesture of apology because they realized that they had imposed on my afterhour’s time. The ones I really remember are those that went out of their way to make it up to me and so it is in life and business. Training parents to make appointments to come in and discuss issues that either they or their child may have is important because otherwise they start to think that they can stop you or arrive unannounced at any time. You can, however take that extra time to find ways to help your families be better informed and keep them up to date on what is going on at your studio. Maintaining that culture that makes people want to be around you and to be involved in your world and what you are creating is an important factor in keeping your business alive and well.

I always like to impress upon my front desk staff the importance of looking up and greeting people with a smile when they enter the building. I encourage them to find ways to treat our customers the way that they would want to be treated. Parents and students love to have someone take an interest in their personal lives. It doesn’t have to be in complicated ways, just remembering their name or complimenting them on something that they are wearing or making a point of remembering their birthday, these are all simple ways to let people know that you enjoy seeing them and talking with them and will make them feel more at home. Connecting with your faculty and staff in this way will also go a long way. I know sometimes it is difficult to say something complimentary to people, especially when they come in with a sour face and a screaming child but as I always tell my staff, if you can get that person to smile even for an instance you will have made their day better and they will remember you for that.

Finding ways to exceed your customer’s expectations can be a constant challenge but if you can come up with different ways to help both parents and students feel more invested in your studio you will have a really good chance of increasing business. It is important to always give your customers a reason to return and in our case not only return but increase the amount of classes that they take each semester.

Running a dance studio is a complex business because we have two clients, the parents and the students and we have to please both in order to not only stay in business but also to grow our business. I would say the number one thing you need to do is listen to parents and students to find out what their likes and dislikes are and that will help to give you more direction as to what is needed to keep them coming back. Our interest should always be in developing long term relationships. After 25 years of owning our studio it is good to see the children of former students studying with us and enjoying the experience as did their parent. As Guy Kawasaki has said, 'Enchantment is about creating a voluntary, long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship of support and loyalty.' If we can develop this with each and every person who comes to our studio we will definitely become successful as people and in business.

Make a plan to try to think up surprises for your customers. They don’t all have to be big gestures; sometimes the smallest kindnesses can carry the most weight. Find ways to hold events at your studio so that you can get to know your customers face to face. Involve your students with activities at the studio so that they feel more connected to you and anyone that works for you. The benefit will definitely outweigh any extra time that you need to put into making these things work for your business.