I know, I can practically see the confusion on your face. Schools learning from car insurance companies? Surely this woman has lost her mind. Honestly, I haven’t. There’s a car insurance company that embraces amazing customer service models that build trust with clients. As schools realize that the markets in which they exist are growing ever more competitive, they could benefit from taking a few notes and changing the way that they work with clients.
Yes, I said clients. Prospective families, current families, and alumni are all your clients. I speak about schools like they are businesses because they are. And your families, prospective, current, and past, are respectively, considering purchasing your product (education), in the process of purchasing your product annually, and supporting your product with donations. But, they have to believe in your product and your company (school) in order to get on board and invest. So, what’s the lesson schools can learn? Provide the ultimate customer experience that gives the user a high degree of value and builds a level of trust.
Learning from Car Insurance Companies
There’s one car insurance company I’m talking about in particular, and that’s Progressive Insurance. Think about the model that Progressive has built. They are so confident in their product (and knowledge of the car insurance industry) and so committed to their customers, that they want to help you find the best possible car insurance, even if it isn’t with them.
You can go online, get rates of several companies, compare prices, and if Progressive is right for you, you can buy online right then and there! The whole premise of their operation is to provide an experience that is easy, quick, and trustworthy. They hook potential clients with one-stop shopping right on their site, and should two quotes be somewhat the same, you’re already right there, so why switch to another site when you can just purchase insurance on the spot.
How might this look for schools?
At Cheshire Academy, we launched a blog aimed at prospective students that educates them about private schools in general and how to apply. I want readers to come to my site, even if they don’t plan to apply to my school. Why? Because I’m building a relationship, and my school may actually be the right place for the student, but because Cheshire Academy never crossed their radar before, they might not have considered me. But, if they start reading about SSAT Study Tips and Interview Advice, they may find nuggets of information that I’ve tucked into these blogs that talks about benefits of attending my school. It may take a while to develop that relationship, but I’m in this for the long-haul.
And, even if my school isn’t right for them, I still want them coming to my site. So, I write about Boarding Schools for Girls and Boarding Schools for Boys, even though Cheshire Academy is coed. I can tout the benefits of single-sex education, but also note that it’s not right for everyone. Because, if you’re not sure, then you might want to check out coed schools like mine and compare. Even if Johnny decides to apply to an all boys school, his sister or friend might actually be a great fit for my school, and he might pass along a link to inquire. Word of mouth marketing is precious, and I want to put as many words out as possible in hopes of connecting with that family who may have otherwise never heard about my school.
A great customer experience is crucial for a business, including schools, to be successful. We often forget that our families are customers and that we need to make sure they are happy. We do want them coming back to annually and telling others how amazing we are. What are you doing to improve your own customers’ experiences?