Growing enrollment in today’s climate can be challenging for child care businesses given heightened health and safety concerns. To help, Michelle Burrows, CMO of Procare Solutions, teamed up with Matt Amoia, CEO of ChildcareCRM, to host a webinar outlining seven keys to enrollment recovery, from lead to enrollment to the in-center experience. The webinar also provided details on Procare and ChildcareCRM’s new two-way integration.
To start, Matt went through the first three keys to enrollment success, which focus on the lead process:
Keys to Enrollment Recovery
Prepare Your Website for Web Traffic
According to ChildcareCRM’s benchmark data, more than 60 percent of all inquiries come from online sources, and that figure has steadily increased for the last four years. In addition, scheduling a tour within 24 hours of initial inquiry increases your likelihood to win the enrollment by 17 percent.
So how do child care centers capitalize on these opportunities? Matt emphasized the importance of ensuring contact forms and links are in prominent places on your website. In addition, he mentioned that it’s helpful to allow parents to self-schedule tours on your website, which removes additional steps they have to take to move to the next phase of your lead process.
Prepare to Efficiently Follow Up
“The number one reason enrollments are lost in our industry is lack of follow-up,” said Matt. “In fact, 80 percent of child care directors stop following up after six attempts, but our data shows that having seven engagements with every family increases your likelihood of winning the enrollment by 20 percent.”
He outlined three ways to enhance follow-up, including designing a process that extends from new inquiry to enrollment so no lead falls through the cracks, using a multichannel approach that includes seven engagements using text, email and phone, and instituting an online registration platform that creates a contactless enrollment process.
Complement Follow-Up through Mass Communication
Child care centers have access to a lot of different communication tools that can support their enrollment growth goals. By using a customer relationship management (CRM) software, they can easily send out or schedule virtual tours through email or text. They can also communicate with withdrawn and temporary leave students to win them back, as well as allow for two-way communication that enables parents to respond to the communications you send – which is all tracked within the CRM platform.
After Matt reviewed the keys to a successful lead/enrollment process, Michelle talked about how to succeed once a child begins attending the child care center.
Engage, Interact and Empower Your Parents
“Eighty-two percent of babies born in 2016 are the children of millennial parents, which means the parents of the kids in your care are used to being on their phones constantly, whether they’re checking social media or texting,” said Michelle. “They need to feel connected to what’s happening with their child in your care, so sharing photos, videos and milestones is incredibly important to building those relationships.”
Parent engagement apps create an easy way to keep parents in the loop on their child’s activities and progress, while also enabling centers to leverage parents in reinforcing at home what’s happening in the classroom.
Enable Financial Success
Taking and making tuition payments shouldn’t be a cumbersome process, said Michelle. The days of writing checks or constantly chasing down payments should be in the rear view mirror.
“Eighty percent of millennials use the internet for managing finances, 69 percent pay bills online or with direct debit, and 52 percent never write checks,” said Michelle. “Knowing that, you can set both parents and your center up for success by automating tuition collection – either via credit card or ACH.”
According to Michelle, this gives parents the option to pay at a time that is convenient for them, plus it creates a truly touchless transaction – which is important in today’s environment.
Improve Safety and Security
When it comes to safety and security, Michelle cited a nationwide survey from the Bipartisan Policy Center, which found that 75 percent of parents say one of their fears is exposing their child to coronavirus by attending a child care program.
“With child care centers reopening, families are paying special attention to the precautions their centers are taking to ensure the health and well-being of their children,” said Michelle. “That’s why it’s more important than ever to leverage strategies that allow for fewer in-person, close-contact interactions.”
One way to do this is through software and applications that let parents sign their children in and out. This can take the form of QR codes or GPS technology that sends a message to a parent’s phone when they’re in range of the school.
Track and Report on Metrics that Matter to Your Business
“You can’t manage what you don’t track,” said Michelle. “It’s important to get a full understanding of company finances and make profitable business decisions based on revenue flow to see success.”
Michelle advised child care owners and operators to maintain a record of vendors, payment terms and standard expense categories like classroom supplies, maintenance, utilities and rent. Then she noted that it is important to establish a budget, enter beginning balances, select a fiscal year and reconcile records on a continual basis. She also discussed making journal entries for expenses like bank fees or to track credit card purchases.
Doing all of this isn’t easy, which is why statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics say approximately 20 percent of businesses fail in the first two years, 45 percent during the first five years and 65 percent in the first ten years.
That’s why it’s helpful for child care businesses to explore using child care management software, which can automate most of these processes.
Procare & ChildcareCRM Integration
To help support child care centers as they look to reopen and grow enrollment, Procare and ChildcareCRM recently announced a two-way integration of their platforms, making it simple to track families from the first inquiry and in-person tour all the way through to enrollment.
They invited Gina Emch, owner of Valley Learning Centers, to talk about her experience leveraging the two-way email and text integration to stay on top of communications and ensure the right people get the right messages.
“The two-way communication is wonderful, especially at this time,” said Gina. “It has been great to be able to send messages letting our parents know we are still open and then for them to respond as to whether they are coming in or not. We appreciate this program so much.”
Click here to learn more about the integration.
To view the webinar, click here.