According to a report published by DfE, 46% of parents looking for childcare said they had used word of mouth to find a formal provider. Whilst the brilliant service you provide will keep these recommendations coming, having an online presence is the key to making sure your occupancy levels stay as high as possible.
Having a website means that new parents can find out more information about your setting in the comfort of their home and at a time to suit them. The next step (converting web visitors to showrounds and eventually, customers!) can be tricky to manage, so here are our top tips.
1. Make booking easy
Nurseries do this in different ways. Some simply provide an email address and contact telephone number for new parents to arrange a visit. Others have an availability system that parents can use to book online slots for their showround like this nursery does.
Whatever your preferred means, make sure that parents can find the information they are looking for by making it easy for them to navigate to this section of your website.
2. Have a quick turnaround time
You could make it your policy to call back or email all new web enquiries within 2 working days. Speed is of the essence for booking in showrounds because it will be an indirect reflection to new parents as to how well your service is running. The quicker you can get the showround booked into the diary, the more efficient you will seem.
3. Be professional on the phone
Whether on the phone or on email, make sure all correspondence with new parents is warm, polite, friendly and above all – professional. Parents will start making up their mind about choosing your nursery from this initial contact and the sound of your voice, so making a great impression from the word “go” is very important.
4. Be as flexible as possible
Most parents will understand that they will not always be able to visit your nursery at their first choice of time and date for a showround, you are running a business after all! However, trying to be as flexible as possible can go a long way to creating a positive first impression that will win new parents over.
If you struggle with finding availability, one solution would be to set aside time each week (e.g 9.30am every Friday morning) which is allocated specifically for showrounds with new parents.
5. Create the right impression
Parents will judge within a few minutes whether they like the staff member (s) that they meet on the showround. Whilst practitioners will be busy looking after the children, a friendly “Hi” and a smile to visitors makes a huge difference and will create a welcoming atmosphere for new parents. Make sure all staff members know the importance of being positive and friendly to new arrivals.
6. Give them a prospectus
Once the showround is complete, and you have shaken hands with the parents and said goodbye, make sure they go home with a leaflet or prospectus about your nursery that they can refer back to later. If these parents are visiting a lot of other providers in the area, this kind of material can help them jog their memory when they come to make a final choice.
7. Put in a courtesy call
A week after the parents have had their showround at your nursery, follow up with a courtesy call. This phone call is a great personal touch which costs very little, and also gives parents the opportunity to pose any further questions they’d like to ask you.
Securing new customers through web enquiries is a process which has many components. However, if this is done well and each of the 7 steps is followed, you will be able to gain a great deal of new business from the enquiries which come through from your website!
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