Customer loyalty is a buzzword in many businesses. As an educator, you may not think in business terms all the time, but in some instances, it can be valuable to take a page out of the business playbook. Focusing efforts on increasing student loyalty is one of those instances. When you work in education, however, it can be hard to know what a loyal student looks like or why they’re important. If you’re teaching professional development courses, for example, you may not expect repeat students in your classes as they may achieve their educational goals quickly. This can make it feel like there’s no point in working to keep individual students happy once they’ve enrolled and paid for your classes because they’ll be gone so soon.
Despite the challenge of students who may only ever take one or two classes through your program, student loyalty remains an important factor in keeping enrollment rates high. Even if a student never comes back to your program, they will remain a part of your community.
Imagine you want to take an art class but don’t know where to go. The first thing many people do in this circumstance is to ask friends, family, and coworkers if they know any programs nearby that offer good art classes. The experience your students had in your program will directly impact who they think of when they are asked these sorts of questions and what they say in response. If you have done the work of ensuring student loyalty, it’s your name they’ll think of when recommending programs. This is how you grow your reputation in your community and increase enrollment.
So how do you develop loyal customers? Here are some quick and easy tips!
Keep the Process Simple
Even the best student service representative can be undermined by a difficult process. Complicated paperwork processes or hard-to-manage enrollment procedures can have a negative effect on overall student experience, while services such as mobile registration, online payments, and friends and family registration keep things simple for your students and enhance their overall experience.
Make Their Experience a Positive One
It should go without saying that you can’t build student loyalty if your students aren’t satisfied with your program. Key to ensuring student satisfaction is treating them well at every stage of the process, from enrollment through completion of their class. Think of your third-grade teacher telling you that people won’t remember what you say, only how you make them feel. This holds true when dealing with your students as well. Remaining open and honest with them will show your integrity as a program and help you retain their goodwill.
Keep Yourself At the Forefront of Their Minds
Even after a student leaves your program, your job ensuring their loyalty is not over. It’s easy to get distracted by everyday tasks and forget about future growth. It’s important to keep yourself at the forefront of students’ minds by sending out mailings with new program offerings and by posting on social media regularly. This makes it so your name is the first name they think of when they’re considering which program to enroll in or recommend.
Offering classes in your community isn’t the same as selling coffee at a local coffee shop. That doesn’t make developing loyalty any less important. If anything, it may make developing loyal students more valuable. With fewer voices speaking about local programs, the students who do speak up are sure to be heard.