Stellar Customer Service for Private Lesson Teachers in 10 Steps
If you're like me, you've had plenty of experience with BAD customer service. Just think about the last time you had a bad experience with a product or a service. Perhaps the product or service did not live up to the sales pitch. Maybe the company was unresponsive to your calls or emails. Maybe they did not do what they said they were going to do, or they gave you the run-around when you called to report a problem or ask a question.
If you think about it, a lack of customer service usually stems from a lack of customer focus. It seems many service providers and businesses have simply lost sight of who they are really in business to serve. This also applies to the private music lesson industry, when considering your students' parents and families as your customers.
Make it a point to really listen to your parents and students. Make a commitment to treat all your studio families well. After all, giving great customer service is one of the best and cheapest marketing tools available. When you treat your studio families well, or even better, when you deliver beyond their expectations, you will be rewarded.
Those happy clients are the same clients who will happily refer you to other parents who are looking for a private lesson teacher. The opposite is also true. If you disappoint your student or their family, or don't deliver what you promise or you just plain treat them badly, they will likely tell everyone they know about their less-than-great experience.
The good news is, it's not hard to give great customer service as a private lesson teacher. You simply have to be aware and make it a priority. Here are 10 tips to help you offer stellar customer service:
1. Be Accessible
Your studio families should be able to get a hold of you if they have a question or if they need service. Provide multiple ways for your customers to get in contact with you, such as email, texting if you feel comfortable with it, or a messaging service like Voxer.
2. Respond in a Timely Manner
Make it your policy to return all phone calls or emails within 24 hours. And, if you cannot commit to that, then determine what timeframe you can manage and let your families know upfront they can expect to hear back from you within that amount of time.
3. Listen to Your Studio Families
Often when a customer calls or writes to complain, they just want to be heard. In fact, sometimes, just listening is all you need to do. Take the time to listen to what your studio families have to say before you start responding or defending yourself. They may just have a point.
4. Treat Your Studio Families with Respect
Even if the parent on the other end of the phone is acting irrationally, or being rude, don't lower yourself to their level by reciprocating. Treat everyone with respect and you will be respected in return. Plus, you never know when someone's just having a bad day, and they happen to be taking it out on you (we've all done it).
5. Don't Argue With Your Studio Families
You can never truly "win" an argument with a student's parent. Because if you do win, you've more than likely alienated them and you've lost their business. We all know the customer isn't really always right, but instead of focusing on what went wrong and defending yourself, focus on how you can solve the problem or fix the situation.
6. Honor Your Commitments
If you say you will reschedule a lesson, reschedule it. If you offer a make-up lesson, then honor it. Nothing spoils a studio family relationship faster than being promised something and not getting it.
7. Do What You Say
If you say you're going to help a student enter a competition, or send a parent a link to buy a new music book, do it. It's as simple as that. Sometimes it's easy to let things fall through the crack, so I recommend taking notes on your phone's internal note app and checking it often when handling business matters like sending parent emails.
8. Focus on Making Relationships, Not Sales
The long-term success of your private lesson business rests on your ability to make long-term customer relationships with your studio families. If you sacrifice relationships to make short-term sales, your business will be short-lived. It's worth the extra effort! Those positive relationships often lead to referrals for new students in the future.
9. Be honest
Don't exaggerate the results your lessons will provide. Don't promise things you cannot deliver just to make a sale. Like the saying goes- honesty is always the best policy!
10. Admit When You Make a Mistake
No one's perfect. We all make mistakes; it's part of life. So when you do make a mistake, don't try to cover it up or deny it. Just admit it and if necessary, do something to make the situation right. Your studio families will appreciate it and they'll be more likely to stay customers. Forget to send an invoice? Accidentally double charge someone? Don't panic. Just be humble and admit your mistake. Your studio parents will appreciate it!
So how does your customer service measure up? Are you practicing these 10 steps and offering stellar customer service as a private lesson teacher?
Commit to putting these 10 tips into practice. Get to know your private studio families. Make them the focus of your business. It's one of the keys to marketing success and best of all, it doesn't cost very much and is easy to implement into your business practice!