Answer the Phone!
Does your charter school rely on phone calls to keep your enrollments up? Are you answering every call? Don’t worry, you have an answering machine, right? Sorry to disappoint you, but that’s not good enough. Here’s why…
It’s one thing if it’s an existing parent or student trying to get hold of the school while your phone is in use, or after hours. They will probably leave a message or call back later. However parents who are in the early stages of selecting a school for their child have no reason to believe you are the best choice for their child until AFTER they talk to an admissions counselor.
When a parent searches for a charter school on Google, they are motivated at that EXACT moment, and they are pre-qualified simply because they are searching for a school…the school isn’t searching for them. If you don’t answer the phone, they are just as likely to go back to their search results and call the next school.
How do I know this? Because we monitor and record phone calls for all of the schools we work with. When we see short duration phone calls (under one minute) we know that there was no conversation or message. We actually record the phone number of the parents who call, and we can see that they rarely call back when their call goes unanswered.
– Invest in a phone system with multiple lines that will roll-over calls if one line is busy. Even without a second line, you may be able to roll over to an existing cell phone or landline.
– Many phone systems (particularly VOIP systems) will not only allow you to roll calls over to another phone line, but can be programed to rout calls to other phones automatically after hours.
– Use a program that will record the phone number of the parent who attempted to call you, and then call them back immediately. (This is built into our marketing programs).
– Consider using a “Live Chat” program on your website. Sometimes parents want the anonymity of chat, plus you can typically program these features to go on and off as your staff is available to answer. An enrollment specialist can chat with a parent from their smartphone when they aren’t even in the office.
Would you like to talk with me about some strategies for your school?
Just contact me, and we’ll set up a few minutes to chat over the phone. I have a lot of experience with charter schools, and I’d be happy to share some ideas with you.
Keep on learning…