If your program isn’t filling up as much or as quickly as you want, it may be time to revisit your customer profile. Understanding your customer needs will help you shape your program and your messaging. This way, you can give your customers what they want. And your customers will learn to rely on you to fulfill their needs.
Understanding your customer takes time and commitment. You can start by asking your customers questions, but you need to dig deep and test their responses. Watch their spending habits: figure out where your customer is spending their money and why. Remember, actions speak louder than words. Use that information to improve your service and they will keep coming back to you because you have what they want.
1. Ask Questions and Create a Customer Profile
Build a profile for each segment of your customers by asking yourself the below key questions to figure out which groups of your customers have similar needs.
In our program, we have two main customers. We have a really big preschool program where our primary customers are the tots and preschoolers and their parents. Our next largest customer base in our weekly recreational students in our grade school classes.
2. Defining Your Customer – Going Deeper
After answering your key questions, keep digging. At the beginning of each season, we ask the parents what they expect from our program. At the end of each season, we ask our parents to tell us how we did. Over time, we started realizing that our customers had very specific wants that they did not convey to us originally and add these points to our customer profiles.
We realized that coordination skills are a key concern for the parents of our grade school students. These parents never mentioned that coordination was important to them initially. However, on our end year surveys we noticed that parents had a lot of comments about how their child did or did not improve their balance and coordination over the session.
3. Analyzing the Results
Once we realized that coordination was so important to our parents, we started including eye/body drills and games in every lesson plan. Instead of swinging on the bar, now we have the student swinging on the bar with a beanie baby in between their ankles. Instead of just walking down the balance beam they walk down the beam with bean bags on their feet or with a bat in hand and “pitch” at the balloons on the wall. We also started training balancing. During the morning stretch we include simple additions such as asking our students to close their eyes while they are in a squat or knee scale position.
Questioning and observing our customers helped us modify our program. Most of the adjustments were minor and simple. By understanding our customer we can make the small changes that create all the difference. One of our biggest goals now is to make sure to teach skills in class that will translate to the playground. We now know that our parents re-enroll in our program when they see their child achieving success on the playground. So we tweak our lesson plans around playground type skills. And our students keep coming back!
What does your Customer Want?
Create a profile like this for everyone of your customers. Your team parents might have very different concerns then your preschool parents or then the boys class parents. Birthday parties customers may have an entirely different expectation.
In sports education, our customer is a little more complicated since the children receive the service and the parents pay for it. It’s important to remember the child’s role in the decision making too! In this analysis we focus on the parents perspective. But go ahead and create a customer profile of your students as well. Use that to guide your decision making too.
Those little ones might not have the pockets but more often than not they hold the keys!!!
Still just starting out? If you are not ready yet to build customer profiles, check out this previous article on finding your first customer.