Before diving into the world at The Child Care Success Company , I was in the Customer Service role in many different venues: a bagger and cashier as a teen at my neighborhood grocer, a barista through my ski bum days and recently, my favorite, as a midwives’ assistant, the most intimate form of Customer Service.

Do you know what the #1 request of women in labor is?  “Make the contractions stop” or my favorite, “Get the baby out right now!”

I do not have the magic million- dollar wand to do this.  I love the entire process a woman goes through to birth her child.  Even after all the frantic requests, she usually comes out of it excited about the amazing process she just went through…but that’s a topic for another blog.

So, what does this have to do with Child Care?  I’m, getting there, trust me 😉

Was I ever able to do this? Make contractions stop or get babies out on demand?  Nope! But I was successful on this journey. Why?

Because families trusted me, they trusted I had their best interests at heart. I gave my clients options, anticipated their needs, and above all, I listened.

So, how can you build trust in your families through Customer Service, even if you can’t give parents exactly what they request?  Shouldn’t they just be happy that they have a safe place for their children all day, great teachers, and fun activities?

Why do we want to build trust with parents? 

When we raise our prices, they will stay with us.

When we point out our policies, they understand and do not question our business practices.

When their child goes home with a dirty diaper, they forgive us and don’t make a big scene on Social Media.

We are human and we will make mistakes.  If we build trust with our families, they will forgive us, because they know we have their best interests at heart.

Here are 3 simple steps that can help you build trust…just remember SOS.

1. Sense of Importance Let your parents know they are heard. You don’t always have to agree with the problem.  (it’s almost like parenting!)

2. OptionsProvide options to issues that work for your business.  You are running a business after all! (and stick to your policies.)

3. Speed You do not need to provide an answer right away. Let the parent know what steps you are taking.

 A few scenarios of how to put SOS into play…..

“Mrs. Jones, thank you for pointing out the error on your latest bill, I can either give you a credit for next month or have the owner issue a check for the discrepancy by the end of the week, which option works best for you?”  (Thank the parent for pointing out the problem!)

“Mr. Smith, I got your email for your request to have Sam stay a bit longer on Tuesday.  We do state in our policy that children need to be picked up by 6:15pm, we can give you our list of qualified local college students who babysit.  I will also check with Ms. Howe to see if she can stay an extra 15 minutes and let you know by 3pm today.  (Even if you know Ms. Howe needs to get home to her family, its still a nice touch to let the parent know you care and take an extra step to help a family out.  Maybe Ms. Howe will want some extra time with little Sam!)

“Mrs. Johnsen, I understand from your voicemail you are upset by the change in policy we have had with our part time pricing and options that starts in the fall. We love having little Emmy at our center and would love to see her here as a full-time participant in Mrs. Orr’s class.  If this does not work for your family, we can either put you on a waiting list for another family who wants to share the full-time spot or grandfather in the part- time pricing for the first month in the fall semester while you make a final decision.” (Give choices that work for your business.)

As always we would love to hear how you are using SOS in your child care centers  in the comments below.