Customer retention strategies for children’s activity businesses

If you want your children’s activity business to grow and scale, not only do you need to focus on introducing your programming to new audiences, but also retaining your existing customers. Getting families in the door is the first step, but how do you turn them into loyal customers who return week after week?

At Sawyer, our goal is to help children’s activity businesses run smoothly and grow quickly. Our platform provides business owners with everything they need to stay organized plus tools that they can use to create strong marketing assets, find new families, and keep customers returning. In this guide, we will outline customer retention strategies for children’s activity businesses. 

What is customer retention?

Customer retention refers to a business’ ability to keep customers returning over a period of time. For children’s activity businesses, customer retention typically means repeat customers who purchase classes or sign up for multiple activities over a semester or year. 

It is important to spend time nurturing your customers because it is often less expensive to entice customers to return than it is to find new customers and get them over the hump of signing up. HubSpot estimates that it is 5-25x less expensive, in fact! Plus, returning customers can be upsold more easily, which means you can more successfully increase your profits on that customer than on someone new. Finally, customers come back because they like what you offer and happy customers are more likely to bring friends and refer others, which will help you reach new customers as well.

You can determine your customer retention rate for a period of time by subtracting new customers acquired from the total number of customers at the end of the period and then dividing that number by the number of customers at the start of the period. Your number of customers at the end of the semester will take into account the new customers that you added as well as the customers that you lost, or churned.

For example:

  • Customers at the start of the semester = 85
  • Customers acquired during the semester = 20
  • Customers at the end of the semester = 100
  • That means the number of customers who churned during the semester = 5

So, your customer retention rate is (100 - 20) / 85 = 94%. Most businesses aim to stay above 85% according to Salesforce, so if you are at 94%, give yourself a pat on the back!

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Customer retention strategies

Now that you understand more about the importance of customer retention for your business as well as how to determine your retention rate, it is time to start thinking about customer retention strategies that you should implement. These are specifically focused for camps, after school programs, and other types of children’s activity businesses.

How to get repeat customers for your children’s activity business

Give customers a reason to come back

One of the most successful customer retention strategies is offering customers a gift if they return to your activities. This can be a discount for their next class, early access to register for a second class, a sibling discount, or even a small piece of swag. You can also reduce the price of your semesters to give returning customers an incentive to purchase multiple classes from the start.

Make customers feel welcome

When families join your classes for the first time, make them feel warm and welcome. When you create an inviting environment for your new customers, you will encourage them to return so they can feel that way again. With a class management software like Sawyer, you receive automated rosters based on the students who signed up for your class so that you can greet each family by their name when they arrive on the first day. Then, keep the warm feelings going when they come back for their second, third, and fourth class!

Send personalized messages to encourage more signups

After customers attend their first class, wait a week and then send them an email to remind them about upcoming activities and encourage them to sign up for another class. You can offer a discount or promotion to seal the deal. In your email, remind them about the value your classes provide to their family. You can also send messages to celebrate student’s birthdays, the start of the school year, or holidays. This is a great place to include discounts!

Offer free trials

In our 2021 Children’s Activity Business Trend Report, we analyzed 5.1 million bookings made and found that 30% of families who took advantage of a free trial returned for a paid class. Free trial classes give customers a chance to try before they buy and you get the opportunity to be your own best marketing asset.

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Ask for feedback…and implement it!

Asking customers for reviews is a great way to reach back out to customers who have gone quiet after attending a class. Once you make contact, get their feedback and then actually implement it! Once you have made the changes, let that customer know and they will feel more interested in returning to your classes. Looking for guidance on how to ask customers for reviews? Check out our article.

Create a customer loyalty program

When you reward your customers for taking classes, then they are more likely to come back! Create a customer loyalty program that gives your families a reason to return. The best loyalty programs are attainable and keep customers interested. For example, give a small reward when they come back for their second class or give them 2 stamps for attending their first few classes so they reach the reward faster.

Developing and implementing customer retention strategies can take time and effort but they are important to successfully growing your business. If you are looking for more support and guidance on the administrative side of running a children’s activity business, Sawyer is the best class registration and after school management software for both in-person and online activities. 

With our suite of tools, like custom forms to record allergies and t-shirt sizes, flexible payment options like gift cards and installment plans, and seamless scheduling and registration on any device, Sawyer saves business owners 28 hours per month. If you are ready to spend less time on admin and more time doing what you love, see how Sawyer can help with a free trial or demo.

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