By DSOA Studio Growth Coach, Jane Grech.
When I first started my studio in one of my main focus points was to create a special place where caring for people was a priority. This was included in my teaching philosophy where I talk about my students “looking back on their time learning ballet and dance with positivity knowing they were valued, respected and cared for.”
As the studio began to grow it became clear to me that I needed to ensure my staff team members also knew of my philosophies and my desire to create what has now been dubbed our ‘Culture of Care’.
Alongside our Core Values, our Culture of Care extends to our students, to our families and to our team members. Creating a culture of care can not only make you feel good, make others feel good but it can also be good for business.
I believe one of the biggest traps we can fall into is putting all our energy (and money) into recruiting new customers, when really we should be first looking after our CURRENT clientele to the very best of our ability. Simply being a ‘good business’ in this day and age is no longer enough – to stand out we must consistently WOW our current families, and as dance studios we have so many opportunities to do this.
To me, running a dance studio is a relationship business. With this in mind, I look for ways to show our customers we care about them, and build on our relationships.
Notice when you are a customer in other businesses how it feels when you feel valued and cared for yourself. All the marketing and flashy advertising in the world can’t replace the feeling of being well looked after or made to feel like you matter. Whenever I am out I keep my eyes open to what businesses are doing well and how I can adapt and include that within my own.
Small easy ways to show our customers we truly care about them currently are:
- Having ‘emergency’ supplies including nappies available for the times that busy mums and dads may have rushed out to a sibling dance class without being fully prepared, little packs of knickers and vests for our toilet training pre schoolers and sanitary items for our teenagers who may have been caught off guard.
- Tea and Coffee available, as well as bottle warming facilities
- Complimentary newspapers for our waiting parents on Saturday mornings
- Taking photos of key events such as Assessments and sending them via email
- Taking video snippets in class and emailing them to parents every now and then
- Providing free fruit for children in case they do not have afternoon tea.
Little efforts such as this make our school and easy and happy place to be, and help make it more than just a place where high quality dance tuition is offered. We work hard to create a community, based on building relationships, to add value to the services we offer.
It is obvious that over time, this is, as discussed in the beginning of this post, likely to pay dividends on the bottom line. While over time your school becomes known for being a place of care, this shouldn’t be the sole reason to create a Culture of Care.
Thought leader Seth Godin writes;
“One theory says that if you treat people well, you’re more likely to encourage them to do what you want, making all the effort pay off. Do this, get that.
Another one, which I prefer, is that you might consider treating people with kindness merely because you can. Regardless of what they choose to do in response, this is what you choose to do. Because you can.”
It is a privilege to serve our current clientele to the highest of standards. I acknowledge that creating a culture of care is good business, but mostly encourage others to use their studios to create opportunities to make people feel special and valued.
Jane Grech is the author of Dance Studio Success as well as the owner of the Jane Grech Dance Centre in Adelaide. She is also a loving wife, mother of 3 gorgeous children and our DSOA resident expert when it comes to studio culture and leadership.
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