I’ve found that the phone is often not a well-loved component of childcare, sometimes it’s even hated. It’s often seen as an after-thought for owners to check on their manager’s phone skills, but poor phone practices can be a BIG business problem.
Most owners are not giving enough time and energy to see how their phone is being answered. Answering your phone correctly is a best practice and one of the fastest ways to grow enrollment.
How do you know if this is being done well? You need to be calling your center to see how your phone is answered. Call at different times of the day and from numbers that are not recognizable. Make sure you are greeted in a friendly and helpful way.
The other big problem I see, along with poor phone skills is 50% of the times I call a child care, I am getting a voice mail, instead of a human. Having a human answer your phone during normal business hours is a must.
If you want, you can have a very simple phone tree (dial 1 for_____, dial 2 for ________ or just stay on the line), but your caller needs to be able to reach a person within 30 seconds. If you don’t have that you are throwing away $75-$100 every time someone doesn’t get through. That approximately how much money you are spending through marketing to get your phone to ring.
Why is this so important? Because it’s all about trust. Do I want to send my child to a place where I can’t get through during normal business hours? No! If parents are going to a voice mail during normal business hours I would guess that HALF of your prospects are hanging up.
One cool idea for after hours, when you should have a voice mail is to make the voice mail extra FUN. One of my personal favorites is one our clients whose after-hour message is really cute “Thanks for calling Future Leaders Academy, the home of future doctors, lawyers, teachers and presidents. We look forward to welcoming you into our program.” That is a personality driven message that is so cute it compels the parent to leave a message.
?Remember your phone is one of your #1 ways to build enrollment – give it a little love!
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