Every customer has a choice to either stay with you or to go elsewhere. The choice to stay is generally because the customer is satisfied with the service or product that you offer. In every business there is competition and the dance studio is no different. If your customer doesn't like the way you run your business or in this case treat them and their child they will opt to go to another studio even if it is inferior to yours. The more satisfied customers that you have the larger your profit will be and the more successful your business will become.
The average company loses anywhere from 10-30% of their business annually because of poor customer service. It is important to pay attention to how each part of your business upholds good customer service. Your front desk staff, your teachers and you yourself have to be on the same page when it comes to servicing your customers in the very best way possible. Of course in our business it is a little more challenging because we actually have two sets of customers, the parents and the students. Customer service truly is the key to success for each of us individually and for our organization.
When an unhappy customer decides to take their child and themselves to another studio the costs can be more far reaching than we imagine. You have to look at the ripple effect that one unhappy customer can generate. That unhappy customer will tell all of their friends who will then go on to tell their friend so what started off as one person being unhappy has now turned in to numerous people talking with others in a negative way about your business. This can indeed have a harmful effect on your business so it is worth it to try at all costs to keep the people who pay to come to your studio happy in as many creative ways that you can think of. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule and if there is someone who is not paying you or is just a disruptive energy to your business then you are probably better off parting ways with them you certainly cannot please everyone but the customers who are there for you need to be treated as well as possible by everyone who works for you.
Most forms of advertising are fairly costly and in order to attract new customers you have to have a marketing plan in place. You constantly want to be adding to your numbers and there will always be a number of students who drop out each year but the more that you can keep over a period of years the more successful your business will be. The key to getting exceptional customer satisfaction and retention is to exceed their expectations in as many ways as possible. So how can you do that?
Here are some suggestions you can use to make your customers keep coming back:
1) Always greet everyone who enters the studio. A warm friendly smile and a "Hi how are you" will go a long way.
2) Acknowledge your customer right away even if you are busy with someone else. Just knowing that they have been noticed will make the waiting time less annoying.
3) Make eye contact immediately. No one likes to feel that their presence is insignificant.
4) Make some kind of conversation as an ice breaker. Talk briefly about the weather, give them a compliment, look and listen for clues as to what they might be interested in.
5) Ask them what they are looking for and let them talk before you start to inform them of everything your studio has to offer. Finding out from them will make it much easier to say the right things to them.
6) Make sure that everyone who works for you is appropriately dressed for their particular jobs so that they all have a professional appearance
7) Keep the front desk, studios and offices clutter free. When a new person comes into your business a cluttered area gives the appearance of disorganization.
8) If someone calls for information give them your name and actually smile when you are talking to them it really does work! If you have to put them on hold for any reason keep it as brief as possible. If you are inundated with calls take their number and tell them you will call them back within 15 minutes and then don't forget to do that! Pick up every phone that rings.
9) Anticipate their needs. Shoe them where to get dancewear, let them know that you are there to help them with their payment plans that it is your goal to keep it smooth and worry free.
10) Let them know how important it is for you that your students and families feel welcome in your studio and that there is a happy and positive energy from all.
Giving the unexpected goes a long way in keeping your customers happy. Plan some customer appreciation events where your students and their families and friends can join in to celebrate what you have to offer in your community and how your business sets you apart from your competition.