Thoughts on Student Service

Zig Ziglar said that if we help enough other people get what they want, then we will get what we want.

Notice that we are supposed to serve others first, before we are benefitted.

The natural law of the harvest is we first prepare the soil, then plant the seed, then water and fertilize the seed, we take care of the harvest, then and only then do we get the rewards of the harvest.

It’s sad, but too many business owners get this wrong. They focus on only what it is best for them while hurting the very people that trusted them to begin with.

The path to long term success is to serve our customers.

A quote by Gandhi…
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Now a quote from my friend Brannon Beliso…
“We are in a Service Based Industry. Much like a fine restaurant or a five star resort, our purpose is to create an experience of service our clients will never forget and always want more of.” – Brannon Beliso

##Student Service Tips
Here is a list of great tips, created by real school owners on how to really over deliver excellent student service. I hope you enjoy this, and I hope you start taking action right away.
– Make a solid connection with everyone that walks in the door. Students, family members, guests. A simple smile, eye contact and a “hi Steve, nice to see you, I am glad you are here” makes them feel great and important to you. Have you ever been to a business and they never greeted you? Have you ever been to a business that when you walk in they all shout at you “Welcome to Moes!” I always felt a little weird and thought it was very impersonal. However, it does brand them.

– Follow through. Deliver on your promises. Maybe you promised something during the intro lesson, or you promised a member you would look at their form on their next class. They will remember and look forward to it, follow through. If you are a RainMaker, create a reminder.

– Follow up is equally as important. After their first class, give them a call and see how they enjoyed it. Don’t stop there though, I follow up after first class, 2, 4 and 6 weeks. Show them that they are important and a part of the family now. It’s the personal touches that they don’t get anywhere else that set you apart.

– Provide a well trained staff that functions as a team to deliver the values of the school.

– Put the needs and wants of the student above your own.

– Provide a safe, beneficial and inspiring curriculum.

– Call them to wish a happy birthday personally. They will never forget it. Send an email too. When they come to class, make an announcement and make it a big deal. Greet them when they walk in with a Happy Birthday. If you are a RainMaker you will receive a daily Birthday List via email every morning to remind you and keep you in the know.

– When a student is out for whatever reason send them a card filled with other students signatures and little notes. Also, know when they are eight days missing and start taking actions to get them back training. Let them know you realize they were out. Offer makeup time to get back on track.

– Send an occasional thank you note to customers for all the support and love they show you.

– Complimentary water bottles in a cold fridge.

– Well stocked bathrooms with plenty of “personal items” especially for moms and female students.

– Host incredible, “it’ll get you talking”… well thought out events for your members and community to take part in.

– If someone refers someone to your school send them a Facebook gift card. Gift giving will be posted on the time lines and everyone they know will also see it.

– Hold regular staff meeting to reiterate exactly what they need to be doing on a daily basis to make sure every student and parents feel as though they are the most important part of the school.

– Pay attention to: What’s going on with the students, parents, interactions… Is someone having a bad day and what is the best way to address and/or serve them. Service sometimes means doing NOTHING and letting people have their experience. Sometimes service means taking some sort of action like giving a bottle of water or a wink and nod. Step one is to be aware of what’s going on… and THEN we can take tactical steps, like parties or cards or all that cool stuff.

– Service is a matter of knowing the outcome of the relationship (the mission) and getting there. Creature comforts are good for retention as long as they support the mission… Not replace the mission. Paying attention and being aware is step 1… The choice of what actions you take to further your mission/service is step 2. But if actions are taken WITHOUT understanding the underlying needs/wants/desires of your clients then you might as well be trying to pin the tail in the donkey blindfolded If someone wants confidence… They don’t CARE if you give them a free nunchuck seminar… UNLESS that supports their ultimate want (and THEY make the connection.)

– People buy from us because we told them they would receive a benefit from us and it resonated with them. The ultimate customer service would be to deliver in that promise. Or… Don’t promise that. We have to know our brand, we have to know what our business does better than anyone else, and we have to only “sell” that stuff we know they will get from us. Then deliver on that first.

– I think some of us have promised stuff we have no business promising. Cut that out. Answer these questions… What benefits do you promise? Write them down. Now, explain precisely how you do this and give me real world examples of people in your school that have said they got that benefit.

– An email, phone call, text or post card when you don’t make it to class, when you get promoted, when you are sick, on holidays, or after you put in a great effort is just a few ways you can shown you care.

– “You Rock” postcards you send via real postal mail are awesome. When you see a student busting their ass in class, let them know. Be specific. I have students that have years worth of postcards we send them on their fridge.

– Positive reinforcement. Always encouraging, never discouraging. Remember, these are our paying clients.

– We must build real relationships using face to face conversations.

– Have informal “impromptu” meetings with parents and students to see how they are doing. Send them surveys via email asking how their training is going? Are you being proactive in getting their feedback?

– Everything begins and ends with me and my team taking ownership of every experience we want to create in our school, then writing the systems and training methods to support it. We train and train some more with a clarity that we are here to serve everyone who walks through our doors at the highest level possible based a value system that we all share and hold close to our hearts. (Brannon Beliso)

– Straight up ask “how is your training going? Is there anything you are frustrated with? Anything I can do to help in any way?”

– Sit down with your students and ask questions on why they are training. Write it down. Deliver on it. Go beyond, ask about hobbies, work, school, etc. “The more you know them, the more you can grow them.”

– Train your staff well. Staff should also know how to treat your members well, how to greet members, how to speak to them, how to correct mistakes, how to teach professionally. They need to be as good or better than you in their area. To accomplish this you need to spend time every single week doing staff training. And monitor their skills and do daily feedback meetings one on one with them.

– Be enthusiastic about helping your members. Do it with a smile. Be excited to serve them.

– Service and Retention. Way too many schools are focussed on new members only and trying to enroll everyone vs. making their existing members happy and keeping them long term.

– Providing your members with as many ways to help them succeed as possible so long as it is done with quality and care.

– Have a special day of make-up/extra help classes every Saturday that is by appointment/invitation only to help those who have missed class or just need a little extra spark to light up the fire inside them again.

– Provide detailed, step-by-step videos of all the curriculum for every class level up through 3rd degree black belt.

– Have special programs that reward our students for practicing at home and completing special life skill missions.

– Every time a student graduates a class level they earn a trophy/plaque for their ability to persevere and stay committed.

– Have weekly 45 minute instructor training sessions for our junior CIT members and monthly 4 hour boot camps for all out instructors to help provide our members with the most consistent and high quality experience possible.

– Use RainMaker FLOWS™ to educate new members on what goes on in your schools. Examples: Day one send a welcome letter, day two send a bio of each of your instructors including photos of them so they can know who everyone is, day three send a video on their basic curriculum so they can practice at home, day 5 send a video on how to tie their belt, etc. This helps them feel comfortable.

– Baby changing station in your bathroom. When my son Maddox was born, I appreciated having a place to go that made it convenient to change him.

– Say goodbye as they leave and having one more connection.

– When a member comes to you to quit, make it an easy experience. Let them know they are always welcome back. But don’t make them jump through hoops.

– If a member loses their job, let them go for free till they get back on their feet.

– If a child member loses a parent, sponsor the child. We let them train for free for life.

– Every student ‘knows’ that THEY are your favorite student.

– Serve your team (staff) too! They are the ones who also execute your vision and your brand. Create a company environment that you would love to work for.

– Listen to your team.

– Listen to your members.

– Over serve. Over deliver. Do what you do like no one else. Now the hard part, don’t keep score! In other words, don’t expect an immediate return, it will come if you stay strong and consistent. It’s easier than ever on today’s society, to be a standout.

– I’m the owner of the school, and every class I walk through the lobby and greet every single person (parents, family, siblings, guests.)

– Having a bad day? Your members should never know it. Be a martial arts professional and control your emotions. Even if it’s your worst day, treat your members like gold.

– No bad attitudes from any of your team while in the dojo.