The actual relationship
Sometimes schools seem to be interested in parents as long as they are not their clients yet. The moment they become clients they lose 50% of their appeal.
This is because some schools owners feel daunted by the ‘sea’ of clients which is out there and which needs conquering. Behind this notion there is an underlying feeling of (dare I say?) greed.
This is the same greed that has led Greek FLS to market prices and freebies more than values and principles.
The reason I relate these two cases with greed is because school owners are yet to define their market.
If, for example, a client comes to school and wants to know nothing other than the price and we represent or own a school that is interested in providing a well-rounded, personalised education, our aims in life clearly don’t meet. This is not our client.
A school as the one described above cannot form any relationship with a parent who looks at the bottom line, but does not examine the content.
To sum up, the sea of clients should not be our concern. What we should focus on is ways of maintaining the relationship built with our clients. In order to do that we have to make sure that the story our brand tells is properly translated into actions.
This means that all members of staff should be able to give the kind of learning experienced initially promised and abide by the methodological principles of the school faithfully and consistently.
In a country where a lot relies on chance, coincidences and happy accidents, clients who invest good money on their children’s education do not want to take any chances.
If the school actually manages to exceed client expectations by remaining passionate and interested in the client even after the sale, then this is going to be a long lasting relationship which is bound to generate others.
Maria Sachpazian BA education / RSA dip/tefl (hons) is the Academic and Managing Director of Input on Education a company which provides academic, business support and consultancy to Foreign Language Schools.She is also an educational management specialist who has worked as a teacher trainer and materials’ developer. Maria works as an EFL teacher at the Straight Up Markoyannopoulou schools
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