by Cathy Abraham
"Customer Service is listening...and hearing...what parents say and don't say."
General Facts about Customer Service
- It costs six times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep one.
- 7 of 10 customers who complain will do business with you again if you resolve their complaint in a timely, reasonable manner.
- If you can resolve a complaint on the spot, this will eliminate 95% of potential lost business.
- Of customers who leave, 68% do so because of a perceived attitude of indifference by the company or an individual.
- A typical dissatisfied customer will tell 8 to 10 people of their negative experience.
- One child who disenrolls equals approximately $6,000 a year. A family with two children spends over $10,000 a year.
Parents Evaluate Quality of Service on Several Factors:
- Credibility - Our ability to consistently provide what was promised, as promised. Do we do what we say we're going to do?
- Responsiveness - Our ability to address the needs of parents promptly and sincerely. Are we listening to the needs parents convey?
- Empathy - The degree to which we display that we care about children and families. Do I give children and parents my individual and undivided attention?
- Competency - Our ability to do our jobs effectively and handle any types of problem situations that arise. Do I convey a calm and knowledgeable professional demeanor?
- Tangibles - The concrete things that parents can see, hear, smell, and touch. Am I providing the best possible environment for young children? Do parents receive daily confirmation that this is a good place for their child(ren)?
Necessities in Customer Service - And to Have a Great Center
You - Your attitude...
- Are you happy? Friendly?
- Do you smile often?
- Do you 'go the extra mile' without being asked?
- Do you warmly greet anyone you come into contact with?
- Do you care about what you're doing?
- Do you leave your personal problems at the door?
- Do you share your enthusiasm?
- Do you have a positive attitude?
- Are you somebody who is an asset to the center?
- Are you somebody you would like to work with?
The Parents - They pay our salaries...
- Do you greet them warmly every time you see them no matter how busy you are?
- Do you share at least one positive experience about their child with them each day?
- Do you listen to their concerns and feelings?
- Do they get pertinent information from you about their child's day and upcoming activities?
- Do you respect their role, and the parenting choices they make for their child?
- Can they look at you and regard you as a professional - based on how you present and conduct yourself.
- Do they see their children happily engaged in fun, stimulating activities?
- Do their children look well-cared for when they are picked up?
- Would you put your child in this center for 10 hours a day?
- Would you be happy with the quality of care at this center?
The children - They are why we're here...
- Are the children loved and well-cared for?
- Are the children talked to and treated with respect?
- Are they adequately supervised and kept safe?
- Do they have many interesting choices of things to do?
- Is your classroom organized, modeling and teaching them this skill?
- Is the building relatively free of crying and screaming, and chaos in general?
- Are the individual needs of children taken into account?
- Is developing self-control the goal of classroom discipline?
- Do you interact with the children and really listen to what they feel and have to say?
- Do you take the time to prepare the environment for the children?
- Are your expectations age appropriate?
- Is your classroom a safe and clean environment?
- Do children have many opportunities to explore and try new things?
- Is your primary focus the children?
- Do you share appropriate affection with each child?
- Do all children receive attention and have positive interactions with you on a daily basis?
- Are all children acknowledged as being special and sacred?
- Are you constantly aware of the child's self-esteem?
- Are opportunities provided for children to develop self-help skills?
- Would I want to be a child here at this center?
- Would I feel loved and safe if I were a child here?
Customer Service Golden Rules
- Smile! A genuine, sincere smile goes a long way!
- Call people by name. This conveys a sincere interest in a person.
- Take an interest. Give parents and children individual and undivided attention. Follow up on things they tell or ask you.
- Be a good listener. If you listen you can learn a great deal about people. Listen to parents.
- Be Polite. "Please" and "Thank you" really convey a message of respect and set the tone.
- Empathize with people. Try to understand what they may be going through.
- Show respect. Be careful to not ignore, slight or judge parents.
- Recognize the role parents play. Parenting is a difficult job, a fact that often does not get acknowledged.
- Have a positive outlook. No one wants to be around someone who has a negative attitude.
- Treat people the way you would like to be treated.
Remember: Always greet and speak to parents every time you see them!!
Tell parents at least one positive thing per day about their child, or about something he/she enjoyed that day!
You can utilize the Customer Service Quiz for training purposes with your staff.