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ThinkSmart Software Blog

For all the latest news and information from ThinkSmart Software.

How to Keep Customers in the Age of Covid
How to Keep Customers in the Age of COVID: What You Need to Know
Friday, 11th September 2020 ThinkSmart Software

With every passing day, it is becoming more and more apparent that COVID-19 is not going away any time soon. Social distancing, wearing masks, learning remotely, and various other changes that were once unknown have become commonplace. Dance studios, sports coaches, music instructors, and similar professions have all needed to adjust their modes of instruction. What was once a simple "sign up for a few classes and come here every week" has now become "you need a computer, a fast internet connection, and space in your home to practice."

Additionally, there's been an interesting phenomenon where people who once gladly paid for in-person instruction are now wanting fees reduced for online classes. In the UK, the Universities Minister said that, since online education is of the same calibre as in-person classes, the tuition would remain the same .

After a few months of COVID and as cities and regions grapple with constantly changing restrictions to fight the spread of the virus, you may be wondering how to retain customers. That is, you may be wondering how to make them adhere to the new ways of working and embrace them, rather than fighting them or cancelling because of them. Fortunately, there are some tips for keeping your customers happy during these fluctuating times.

Explain the Reasons Behind the Rules

With new rules and new ways of doing business comes the invariable question, "why?" Why do we need to continue online instruction? How can this new format work the same way as before?

Your business should be able to answer these questions in a concise, easy-to-digest format. For example, if your business needs people to wear masks, explain that it is a government mandate. Or, if your region doesn't require masks, but you want to have them for the safety of your employees, explain that your employees still don't feel comfortable providing in-person instruction without protective equipment.

Most of the time, you will find that people are quite reasonable when you explain the reasons behind the policies. When they understand why, it will help them conform to your new strategies and learn to work within them.

Emphasise the Quality of Instruction Remains with the New Policies

If your business has begun implementing new COVID-19 policies, you should emphasise that the quality of instruction will remain the same. This part is especially crucial for small studios who have moved most of their teaching online. People may wonder why they are paying a dance instructor, for example, to teach their child online when they can load up some YouTube videos for free.

As an instructor, you know the value of one-to-one teaching, even in an online environment. The personalised individual instruction and feedback that students receive from that time are invaluable in helping them learn these new skills.

Instead of trying to explain how online and in-person instruction are the same, focus on the person, not the medium. Your guidance is what is helping these students gain invaluable skills. The repertoire you have built didn't magically come undone with COVID-19. The medium doesn't matter as much as that personal interaction. What matters is the fact that you're still there and still able to coach these students efficiently and effectively!

Use Free and Accessible Software

When asking parents and students to use online learning tools, reducing the learning curve for those software packages is essential. Provide links to all the software and, if possible, only use free solutions. For example, Zoom is popular for that reason. As a free platform (subject to some restrictions), you can teach a class with relative ease using this software. Although there were some concerns about security with Zoom, those concerns are inaccurate according to the company .

You can pick and choose the tools that suit your business best. However, make sure they are accessible to students and parents of all ages and technological backgrounds. Additionally, ensure that the software you use doesn't require the latest and greatest hardware to run. You want people with less advanced technology to be able to join in your classes.

Try to Provide Flexibility and Empathy

The pandemic has been hard for everyone. It is natural for customers to re-evaluate their expenditures, interests, and aspirations. It's also natural for people who once had a steady, set routine to find themselves in a strange schedule suddenly.

Therefore, when discussing situations with customers, try to provide some goodwill, flexibility, and empathy for their unique circumstances. Instead of a customer cancelling because 10 am classes no longer work, what if you could find another time? Or, instead of charging a late fee to cancel a class, maybe you let the one cancellation slide because of these unique circumstances.

You don't want to give up all your rules and policies, letting everything turn into a free-for-all. However, showing customers goodwill and positive intentions during the pandemic will turn them into customers for life, and they'll be willing to spread the word around about what a great business you have.

New Policies and Procedures Are Never Trivial to Implement

No matter how well you execute these new policies, you'll always find some challenges and hiccups. The key is to implement reasoned, well-thought-out changes that are easy for customers to follow. Explaining the reason for those changes, providing free and accessible software, being flexible, and emphasising the quality of the education will help make the transition to the new way of working much more straightforward.

Everyone must have a certain level of flexibility these days. Cities and nations that once had COVID-19 under control may suddenly see a surge of cases. Conversely, regions with lots of instances of the virus may see a reduction due to social distancing and mask-wearing. Your policies and procedures will likely reflect those states. The best way to ensure that customers stick with you is to be as transparent as possible about why you are making these changes. Once you do that, you will find that you have far more loyal customers than you probably thought possible!

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