I’ve been fortunate enough to make a couple of trips to the Bahamas in the last few years. The first was to celebrate a milestone birthday (I’ll leave you guessing as to which one). The second was a getaway with my best friend, Hilary.
On both trips, I was struck by the level of customer service I experienced – from the airport customs agents, to the taxi drivers, to the servers in local restaurants. Everyone — and I mean everyone in this nation of under 400,000 — went out of their way to make sure my visit was beyond my expectations. Even the children I passed on Nassau’s sidewalks would stop and ask me if I was enjoying my visit.
And, obviously – or maybe not so obviously – that got me thinking about schools.
Bahamians understand that their livelihood depends upon providing an exceptional experience to each and every tourist that graces their beautiful white sand beaches.
In fact, according to tourismtoday.com, “just under 50% of all persons in The Bahamas are directly employed in tourism. If you add those who are indirectly employed in tourism, the percentage increases to 70% … With a total labour force of 164,675, the economy depends heavily on the tourism sector to provide employment.”
If a relatively small island nation can mobilize even their youngest citizens to carry the mantle of every tourist’s experience, why can’t our schools?
In reality, schools are no different than the Bahamas. On average, more than 90% of our new family inquiries come through word-of-mouth
referrals. That means that every interaction we have with a student, a parent, a grandparent, or an alum is an opportunity to reinforce our school’s brand, and more importantly, our value proposition.
When I took that second trip to the Bahamas with Hilary, we could have chosen a dozen other vacation spots. All we really cared about was our safety, our experience, and the ease of getting there. Oh yeah, warm weather and top-notch beaches were also a priority.
Ultimately, we chose the Bahamas over other Caribbean islands because I had such a great experience there the first time I visited. Sound familiar?
As you think about your own school’s marketing efforts and how to attract more mission-aligned families, consider the Bahamas. Start with customer service. Start with those daily interactions on the phone, in the parking lot, or even the emails you trade with parents who want the very best for their child.
They can spend their money with other schools. You can make sure they don’t want to.