First impressions are so important!
They are important in friendships, dating, business and pretty much every aspect of life. And yes, they are important for your child care or preschool program! We all judge people and places based on the very first time that we meet or see them. This may not always be fair but it is true.
The messages that parents get from you and your staff when they first call or visit your center will likely be “make or break.” They will have a lasting impact and will color their opinion of you from that moment on. That first impression will affect what parents think of your facilities, of you, of your program and of your business, in general. Parents who are left with a bad taste in their mouth won’t hesitate to speak poorly of you to other parents.
This post was originally featured on the CareLuLu parent blog.I
always had passion for learning and exploration. These two personal traits often got me in trouble with my elders, when I was a child. As I got older, the spontaneity of my actions had to change to conform to the responsibility of the adult world; however, the love of that curiosity stuck with me till this day.
I started child care because I believe every child needs a safe, nurturing and a challenging environment where they can learn and explore. Few of the preschools and child care programs that I visited prior to opening Kiddie Academy of Ashburn were run with a primary focus on business. It bothered me a little bit not because it was wrong, but because the focus has shifted from quality and personal care to enrollment by the numbers. I remind myself and my management team and staff every day that we are here for the children and their families, and our passion for what we do should never cease. Indeed, the impression we leave on these children is what is going to form and shape their future. What an extraordinary feeling, but also what a great responsibility!
Y ou may be struggling to get the enrollments you need but you’re not sure why. Your facility is clean. Your teachers are wonderful. The rooms are lovely. The playground area is impressive. You are always available for tours, always jumping on referrals and always ready to answer questions. Despite all that, you just aren’t enrolling as many children as you wish in your child care or preschool program. The truth is, you are probably not even getting a small fraction of the parent interest you should be getting.
Why? Because of your website.
A s a child care owner or preschool director, you are in the business of enrolling new students. Yes, this might sound crude, but the only way you will stay in business is if you indeed enroll children at your facility. So you must be ready every day (every minute, really) to follow-up on “leads.” Parent leads, or “referrals”, are prospective parents who show interest in your child care program, either by calling you, emailing you, or stopping by your center for a tour.
W hen speaking to parents on the phone, it is of the utmost importance that you make a good first impression. The impression that they get on the phone will weigh heavily as they make decisions about where to tour, and later, where to enroll their little one.
You may not be in a great mood. You’ve been up since 5 am. You may be hungry or tired. BUT, you must be perky, chipper and eager to talk. This is not negotiable. Parents want to send their child to a “happy place.” They want to imagine their child being loved and cuddled. A cranky lady who hasn’t had her coffee doesn’t convey that image.