by Jason Flame, MAIA Elite Consultant
Communication is the key to success in any relationship. It’s important that we go above and beyond when it comes to communicating with our students and parents. Having systems in place to maintain frequency and consistency of contact will prevent students from “falling through the cracks.”
Keep in mind that our families are often inundated with information from other activities, work and their personal lives. Face-to-face interaction is always best, but when we need to communicate and are unable to see them in person, we have several options for staying in touch. When relaying information to our students, we should keep these simple yet valuable communication methods in mind.
Nothing beats letting someone hear our voice when we really need to communicate something urgent or significant. Progress checks, enrollment notifications, renewal reminders and upgrade decisions all require discussion. Every quarter, we should make a point of calling every family for a progress check. A simple phone call can help us build rapport and strengthen our relationship with a parent or student.
Texting can serve as an alternative to a phone call. More people are likely to respond to a text message quickly, although it’s far less personal. Nevertheless, sending text messages for reminders, updates and confirmations is convenient and effective. A more creative way to “text” your students involves transmitting an audio or video message through the texting app, rather than simply sending written words.
Yes, weekly and monthly newsletters are still a thing! We may not send out printed copies anymore, but e-mailing a list of our upcoming events, life lessons and other important announcements is always welcomed by parents who are trying to balance their busy schedules. We may want to create a template for this outreach and schedule the mailings in advance to save time. We must be sure to keep our e-mail list up to date to reflect new enrollments and dropouts.
As more and more platforms allow us to communicate with our students, we have an increasing number of opportunities to be creative. Not only can we relay announcements and conduct marketing campaigns on social media but we also can use the platforms for retention. Highlighting our students’ achievements with photos and videos posted on social media is always well-received. When time permits, we should engage in posts made by our students and parents. For example, we can congratulate them on a job well done in an endeavor outside the martial arts or simply send a “happy birthday” note. Staying engaged in a student’s life shows that we care about him or her as a person, not just as a student, and that’s a great retention tool.
U.S. Postal Service
Everyone loves getting “old-fashioned” mail. Hand-written notes are a great way to add a personal touch. At my school, our goal is to ensure that every student receives a “good job” note every quarter or every testing cycle. This is a simple yet effective way of showing students that we notice them. It also gives them something they can keep with their martial arts memories.
Jason Flame is a MAIA Elite Consultant and the owner of Moorpark Karate & Krav Maga in Southern California. To contact him, call (805) 657-1775 or send an email to [email protected]
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