How much thought do you put into your child care center tours? If you’re like most daycare owners, the answer is not nearly enough.
Tours of your child care center are the first impression parents get of your business. If your tours don’t inspire trust, parents won’t enroll their kids in your program and your center won’t grow.
Let’s take a look at five tips to improve your tours, connect with parents on a deeper level and grow enrollment.
1. Give Tours at Specific Times
Your child care center tours should always happen at specific hours of the day. That way you can schedule them at opportune moments and ensure your staff is prepared.
What if a parent wants to schedule a tour right before nap time, when kids are tired and cranky? Parents should feel comfortable when they tour your center and see kids when they’re playing and enjoying all the great programs you have to offer.
Consider allowing parents to book tours between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursdays, or whenever works best for you and your team.
Once a tour is booked, send parents an email to confirm their appointment. Then send them a reminder message the day before the tour to reduce the likelihood of no-shows.
2. Have a Dedicated Tour Host
Train a dedicated tour host to conduct all child care center tours.
Select an employee who has the following traits:
- Knowledge: Your tour host needs to have an intimate knowledge of your center’s curriculum, policies, safety measures and pricing structure. If your host can’t answer parents’ questions, you’ll have a hard time securing new customers.
- Exuberance: The person you choose to host tours should enjoy working for your business. Parents won’t send their child to your daycare if the staff is miserable. Show parents that people want to be a part of your operation.
- Listening Skills: A host needs to be able to listen to parents’ wants and concerns and tailor their tours to address these things. If they can do that, your center will grow.
Can’t find a team member with all three of these traits? Don’t worry! Practice makes perfect. After giving a few tours, your host will learn the process and improve.
3. Identify What Makes You Different
Your child care center tours should highlight things that distinguish your center from the others in your area.
Are all of your teachers certified? Are diapers and wipes included in your tuition? Do you use a specific kind of curriculum? What makes it so great? Does your center feature above-average play equipment or a top-grade security system?
The parents who tour your daycare will compare it to the others in your community. Give them a reason to choose you over the competition.
4. Give Kids Age-Appropriate Gifts
Parents aren’t the only ones you have to sell your daycare to. You need to make sure their kids enjoy your child care center tours as well.
For example, an age-appropriate toy — preferably one with your center’s logo stenciled on it — is a great way to get on a child’s good side. This kind of thoughtful gesture will go a long way with parents, too, and help give your center a positive reputation.
So take a moment at the beginning of your tour to learn each child’s name and age. When the time is right, give them a gift they’ll enjoy. It’s an incredibly easy thing to do, but will really improve the quality of your tours.
5. Send Parents Home With Information Packets
Your child care center tour is done. Now what?
First, ask parents if they’d like to enroll their children in your daycare, but don’t come on too strong. Say something like, “I’ve loved getting to know you and your kids today! Should I get the enrollment paperwork started for you?”
If parents want more time to think about their decision, give them an information packet such as a small folder or brochure that includes important details about your business.
Your packet should include:
- Major selling points: What makes your daycare the best in town? List these things so that parents can refer back to them when deciding between child care providers.
- Social proof: Your packet should include at least one (or two or three!) glowing reviews from past or current customers to make new parents feel comfortable.
- Contact information: Your center’s phone number and email should be clearly visible so that it’s easy for parents to contact you when they’re ready to move forward.
A well-crafted information packet will help convince parents that your daycare is the right fit for their family. Take the time to make it right and your business will improve.
After the Tour
Choosing child care is a huge decision. Many parents will want to take time to assess their options. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear from them for a few days, but keep your daycare top of mind by following up in a timely manner so your center is the first one parents think of when they’re ready to make a decision.
Lisa Henkel, vice president of education and training at ChildcareCRM, a global software company specializing in customer relationship and lead management, presented a session called “Engaging with Families from Interest to Enrollment” at The Business of Child Care virtual conference hosted by Procare Solutions on July 21, 2021.
This rule suggests that families need to hear an advertising message seven times before they will consider enrolling for care. Contacting a prospective family at least five to seven times increases the likelihood of enrollment by 67 percent.
“Parents are super busy. They have a lot going on in addition to looking for care,” Lisa said.
So don’t give up until they say they’ve found a different child care center or are no longer interested.
Lisa gave the following suggestions to help in sharing your message:
Make text messages a priority. The vast majority of today’s parents are millennials, and 60 percent of millennials prefer texting over email and phone to communicate with businesses.
Personalize your communications. Include the recipient’s name in each email. Texts are important, but phone calls are good too. Parents crave personability from their child care providers and phone calls and face-to-face interactions give them that. When you personalize your messaging and cater to your families’ specific needs, you are better positioned as a reliable and knowledgeable person they can trust.
Create a sense of urgency. Many families are feeling financially insecure due to the coronavirus pandemic and aren’t ready to make commitments with their money. So be their ally. Be honest and let them know when spots are filling up.
Automate your follow-ups. You can use a lead management tool’s two-way communication feature to interact with parents through email and texts.
Digitize your registration forms. Parents like knowing they can fill out the paperwork online at a time and place that’s convenient for them. Procare Solutions gives users the eDocuments feature, which allows you and your families to electronically sign documents within Procare Online or via Procare Parent Engagement for Procare Desktop users.
Using eDocuments, you can create an electronic signature, format documents and store signed documents in one central location and within the Procare platform.
How Procare Can Help
Procare offers lead management tools for both Procare Online and Procare Desktop customers.
Procare Online customers are able to effectively capture new data on potential customers who are known as leads, as well as generate tours, schedule phone calls and automatically schedule follow-ups and email reminders.
And it’s vital that you understand how effective you are at enrolling families who show an interest in your center.
That’s where Lead Insights can help. It’s the latest enhancement offered through Procare Solutions to optimize and grow your business.
Lead Insights is a dashboard that shows how well your center converts prospective customers, also known as leads, into clients to help you drive enrollment.
It applies software metrics tailored to measure the effectiveness and health of how your child care center is managing those leads. And it gives you the results in a concise, easy-to-read format:
And Procare Desktop is integrated with ChildcareCRM. That means customers get ChildcareCRM’s software to help manage and track enrollment inquiries, while building relationships with parents and caregivers.
Request your free demo today to see how Procare can help you attract new families and boost enrollment!