January 26, 2017

The Value Of Communication

I’m in the midst of preschool tours for my 2.5yo….bear with me, I swear this story will come back around to food businesses.

So yes, I’m touring various half-day/partial-week preschools right now trying to decide which ones I think will be a good fit for my daughter and which are probably not quite right for whatever reason.   Like anything, there’s no perfect answer and each has its own pros and cons.  Each also has a price tag attached to it – some more expensive than others – but essentially the prices are comparable give or take $500/yr.

One interesting thing that I’ve noticed though is that the preschools that charge more (up to more than $500/yr than others), also have much better communication.  When I email questions about how to set up a tour, I get a response right away.  When I send in an application, along with the application fee, I get immediate confirmation that my application has been received and that they’ll be in touch by X date with information regarding admission or waitlist.

For some of the other preschools it can be like pulling nails to get information or an email response.  I chalk that up to the fact that these preschools are not necessarily the super-fancy ones you can find in this city (just not the right fit with our family for a variety of reasons) and likely have an overworked staff who are trying hard to keep on top of everything.

Sound familiar to anyone?   We’ve all been there, as entrepreneurs we know how hard it is to have a to-do list that is miles long, an email inbox that never seems to quite down, and a phone that won’t stop ringing.  There’s.just.so.much.to.do.   And sometimes things – like responding to emails – fall through the cracks.  Trust me, it’s a mistake we all make!

However, going through the process from the customer side, like I am now, I realize how important that quick communication is.  Honestly, it’s stressful for me to have to try to stay on top of emailing – and re-emailing – the less responsive preschools and as I think about becoming a recurring customer – because that’s essentially what I’ll be – I’m weighing that stress factor in along with the price tag.  Is it worth the extra $XXX/yr if I know that my questions and emails will always get a quick response?  And since I’m looking for a preschool that we can stay in for the next 2-3 years, that’s an additional 2-3 years of questions/emails/communication.

Like I said, I know how hard it is to stay on top of everything.  But as entrepreneurs being on top of that communication is one of the best ways we can show our customers, and potential customers, that we respect them and value their business.  People are willing to pay more for products and services when they feel like they are being heard, listened to, and getting their questions answered so this is something that you really can’t neglect.

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