When we talk about measurable areas of a childcare business, we often jump straight to enrollment. It’s an easy metric to gravitate toward and a quick way to produce revenue with a top-line focus. But before you boil down your success to that one part of the business, what should you be measuring that could have an even greater impact? What you might not be measuring is your potential for growth.
Let’s talk about your prospective family funnels. The more outreach you do, the more families will be added to your funnel. This directly relates to being able to conduct more tours and eventually gaining more enrollment. It is a simple numbers game.
There are many common ways to identify prospective families. You can advertise, look to current families for referrals, send information to the community and even run social media campaigns. We also hope you have employed a CRM (like Child Care CRM) to help manage your prospect funnel.
We also want to encourage you to look internally at what you can do with your families and staff to grow your business.
One of the most powerful tools you have for encouraging growth is the knowledge of how your staff and your families identify with your center. What do they think of you? Are they speaking positively about you? As with any other measureable area of your business, you should have a metric tied to your employee and family engagement. To do this, leveraging surveys and survey data would be critical to identifying your staff and family’s thoughts about your centers. Integrating surveys will offer you predictable and purposeful means of gathering this information.
Inspire! Care 360 suggests that surveys be leveraged in conjunction with a larger marketing campaign for your parents and staff. A smart approach is taking advantage of a content calendar to plan your surveys. Your surveys should be short, to the point, sent at regular intervals and have a common theme of questioning.
Best Practices for Surveys
When planning your surveys, consider what you want to do with the results. Here are some points to consider:
- Open-ended questions may give you great context for the responses, but using ratings and rankings for surveys can help with measurable data.
- Stay true to your values. Values are your foundation for an Amazing Culture. Infuse your survey questions with your values.
- Setting clear expectations of how you will respond is critical to surveying families, staff and your community.
- Let them know how you plan to use the data, then provide feedback on their responses.
- Now you are responsive, engaging and, quite frankly, you are listening!
Here is an example of a survey question that expresses your values:
"We believe in being very flexible to the needs of our families. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being amazing, 1 being not so amazing), how you would rate our ability to be flexible when it comes to challenges with your child(ren)’s care?"
If you value being flexible to the needs of your families, this is a question that aligns closely with your business.
You should also consider how you ask questions. Here are some examples that drive different results for the same idea:
- If 10 families respond to your survey question with positive, open-ended feedback, you will have testimonials you can use on materials for new families.
- When you use rankings or ratings, you could claim that 10 out of 10 families ranked you as the number one trusted childcare business in the community.
- Using a combination of measurable and open-ended questions will allow you to craft a story for new families.
How you can use surveys for your staff
Through regularly gathering data and measuring it against previous surveys, you will be able to find trends in your staff’s engagement while fixing issues that creep up before they could threaten your business.
Here are some thoughts for staff questions:
- How does your staff really feel about your centers?
- How do they rate the way you conduct your service?
- What are their thoughts, feelings, considerations and ideas?
- Are they engaged in their work and willing to recommend other teachers in the area come work for your business?
Using the data for growth
So, should we all go out, get a free tool like Survey Monkey and start using it? Sure…that is certainly a start. But, consider the value of having a tool that allows you to survey and store and output data.
You and your team could compare current surveys against the last quarter surveys, allowing you to edit and enhance questions in a dynamic and purposeful way. Having access to a database that supports this is a much better long-term approach.
The information you gather from these surveys can help you find trends in how your center is perceived by families and staff. Keeping this data, leveraging your CRM and having an organization provide this type of tool to support your Brand Identity and Employee Engagement is critical to Childcare Success.