In the past few weeks, I have been in many meetings with clients discussing retention and specifically the problems surrounding students exiting in the first 0 – 3 months.
When we think about retention we obviously have our students at the forefront of our minds, and rightly so. After all if they aren’t enjoying the experience they won’t return to class, that’s logical.
However for a number of you (I’m referring to those who cater for kids classes) this just isn’t enough.
Parents are your hidden students, they hold the purse strings and they ultimately decide on what their kids do and don’t get involved with when it comes to hobbies and out of school activity.
So let’s consider the Parent for a moment. What do you need to offer them in order to keep them happy and to retain them?
Maybe this won’t be such a tough idea to unpack, since we have already decided that we should consider the Parent as a hidden student, and as such their needs will be similar to the needs of a training student: Recognition and Interaction as well as appreciation.
Always try to ensure that parents have a great experience whether they are just watching or they interact directly with you. Make it part of your teaching process to direct comments to parents when talking to the kids about good practices and behaviour, and also provide demonstrations of the value you provide by emphasising the benefits of training. Do this personally and also in your poster messages and literature.
Help parents to feel part of something special and make them feel valued!
Think of yourself in their position, what would you want? Visibility of your child training, a comfy place to sit, the option to chat to other parents, WiFi access, a cup of coffee, people to recognise and acknowledge you when you walk in with your child?
It need not be an onerous or expensive action that you take, however it could make a big difference to your retention levels if you do make an effort to please the Parents.
If they come to your school and are perched on a window ledge for an hour, and are told to keep quiet – they are unlikely to feel drawn to return.
Those of you who don’t have a full-time location can make improvements to the parental experience through your interactions with Mum or Dad, even if you are limited on the changes that you can make to the surroundings.
These are just a few things for you to consider whilst you are focused on the new student prospects that you have attracted as part of your Back to School campaign, and they could be a great way to encourage retention.