Does your heart skip a beat when you hear the word ‘feedback’?
Or ‘constructive criticism’?
Most of the time the answer is yes – you’re only human after all, and nobody likes to hear that aspects of their work or business are underappreciated or simply not working. Not to mention how harsh feedback can stay with you for a long time, keeping you up at night or distracting you from what you should be focused on.
Positive feedback is a different story. We, of course, love and thrive on it. BUT that feeling can be short-lived. Ten compliments in one day can easily be overshadowed by one piece of negative feedback.
Whether we like it or not, ALL feedback is crucial in growing and improving your dance studio, so it’s time to take your ‘emotions’ hat off and replace it with your ‘CEO’ one so that you can learn to embrace feedback from your students, staff, clients, family and friends and step out of your comfort zone for the greater good of your business.
So, let’s get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Why feedback is so important
Embracing feedback (especially negative feedback) can in turn positively impact a number of areas in your studio, including:
Referrals – If you’re like most dance studios, a lot of your new student enquires would come from current student recommending family members and friends. You don’t want any reasons for a student or parent not to recommend your dance studio, so It’s important that you regularly check in to ensure there are no frustrations that may affect their recommendation.
Loyalty – You never want to be surprised when a family leaves abruptly or doesn’t come back for the following year with no apparent reason. It can be so powerful for you to find out any issues straight away so that they’re responded to with amazing customer service and problem-solving. Aim to be the most responsive studio out there on the issues that matter.
Retention – It’s human nature for people to tell fibs rather than have an awkward conversation, so when you ask someone how they’re finding things, they will likely say, ‘Oh, just fine’. Then – as we know – they then go home and complain about that ‘fine’ thing to their family and friends. Make sure that you’re making feedback really easy and professional for them so they don’t feel uncomfortable or that you’ll put their child in the back line.
Building your student numbers – Receiving feedback means you can cleverly use it as
testimonials on your website, social media and promotional material. This provides a powerful thing called ‘social proof’ and shows that you’re a great studio. This will make new families more comfortable and confident in coming to try a class with you which is a huge win.
Reputation – This is a big one. Implementing a feedback strategy allows you to hear from your students and families first before they tell their friends. If it’s great feedback then you can give them a high five and thank them; if it’s not so good, then you can take action (and show them you’re taking action) before they go and tell the world.
Now, the golden rules of an effective and seamless feedback strategy.
1/ Be clear on your objectives
If you’re going to implement a feedback system, make sure you take the responses seriously and plan to pay attention to what people are saying – good and bad. Don’t dismiss negative feedback just because you don’t like it or feel defensive with comebacks like “well if they read their newsletter, they would have known that!”. They’ve obviously not read the newsletter. Your job now is to make sure they do.
2/ Make the feedback process easy and efficient
Make the feedback process at your studio really simple for your students and parents to participate in – multiple choice and plain text answers are best. Respect their time and instead of giving away a prize, assure them that their voice will be heard and action will
3/ Ask the right questions
Make sure that your questions are short, sharp, to the point and most of all, relevant for them and you. For example, a less-productive question like ‘Do you like your teacher?’ could
be replaced with, ‘On a scale from 1-5, how inspiring, energetic and encouraging is your teacher, with 5 being the best outcome.’
4/ Timing is everything
Think about the events that your studio runs where you could ask for feedback afterwards – it could be at the end of the month or term, possibly after a concert or recital, or after exams. Sending surveys immediately after big events means that their thoughts are still fresh and they
5/ Share the love (and the grumbles)
Your team need to be aware of the feedback that has come in. Celebrate the wins and take the lessons from the not-so-positive feedback. This process is about everyone growing and
When it is time to collate and analyze your results, you can break the feedback into some important indicators inside the business.
• Is student and parent satisfaction improving?
• Are you increasing student retention?
• Are you receiving great comments and displaying them on your
website, on social media and in promotional materials?
• Is your team’s customer service issues reducing?
Sending a feedback form is now easier than ever, and you can use tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to design your feedback form and send it with just a couple of clicks.
If you’d like more tools for improving and growing your studio and personal insights from our expert team around your own feedback strategy, we would love you to join us in the Dance Studio Owners Association