Companies that create a content and productive work environment keep good employees. This reputation gets the company on the list of the top best companies to work for making recruitment easier. Furthermore this reputation influences the consumer’s choice of product or services because satisfied employees do good work. So contentment impacts all facets of a company or enterprise.
The same holds true for the families that enroll their children in our schools. Because of the family’s satisfaction with the quality of the faith community, education and the other aspects of a Catholic school, they keep their children in the school. Year after year, they re-enroll their child. These same families become the ambassadors for the school and attract other families. In the long run the school’s reputation influences parental/guardian choice.
The reality is that we lose families because of dissatisfaction with one aspect of the school or another. Often parents state the reason is finances, but is it really? John Cooper, enrollment specialist for Institute of School and Parish Development, suggests that we take retention seriously by having a Point Person for retention. This person could possibly get to the root of the departure. This would enable the school to address the issue and prevent others from leaving for the same reason. After all, like any business if our school intends to remain competitive it must be about continual improvement.
Who should be assigned as the Point Person? Perhaps a board member serving on the board’s Marketing Committee. This person would not be involved in the following which may prevent the parent from approaching him or her:
3. Collection of tuition
The Point Person would be introduced at orientation or when students register the name of this person is given to the parents. The job description of the Point Person would be to answer questions and concerns that the parents/guardians have. This may involve the parent meeting with the administrator or staff or getting responses from them. The main role of the Point Person is to answer questions and to listen in order to alleviate concerns. In some cases this person could arrange for the appropriate parties to come together to resolve the issue, if possible, before withdrawing the student. By no mans should this be interpreted as the board becoming a complaint bureau. Rather this is a way that a neutral person could prevent losing students and also fixing what might prevent other families from registering.
Parents report that they did not “complain” because they were fearful of retaliation on their child. Instead, they just quietly left the school. Designating a Point Person is a way to avoid this and show the consumer we are about continual improvement. You may come up with a different way to set up the Point Person concept that will work for you. Either way, take retention seriously. Give as much time and effort or even more to retention than you put into marketing. Imagine the end results when contentment/satisfaction is the focus.