The most important deliverable in the childcare industry is peace of mind.
From a high level, this is what makes our industry unique, and it affects every aspect of operations. Parents want reassurance that their child is attending an efficient, smooth-running place where everyone is happy to be there, from the nurse to the morning greeter.
Every interaction should reinforce parents’ peace of mind. A childcare CRM can help your staff accomplish this day in and day out.
What Is a CRM?
A CRM (customer relationship management) system is a software that captures, organizes, and analyzes incoming data from forms people fill out. For a childcare CRM, those forms are usually tour inquiries or enrollment forms.
With a CRM, every completed form is recorded and trackable, which saves staff time and energy.
If your business doesn’t use a CRM, your staff likely jots responses down on paper, which is quick and convenient in the moment. However, paper isn’t your friend. Paper gets lost. At best, paper is cumbersome and takes a tremendous amount of time to manually sort and sift through.
A CRM can record, track, and respond to an inquiry faster and more efficiently than even the best staff can. It frees up time for your staff to spend on more important things, such as ensuring every parent has peace of mind that their child is well cared for.
Speed and efficiency aren’t just nice-to-haves. They’re essential. They’re reflections of your business, which communicate to your clients the level of excellence they can expect for themselves and their children.
When a parent can easily register for a tour online, receive an email right away confirming their spot, and get regular updates while they wait for their tour date, it builds trust and reassures them that they’re making the right choice.
However, if a parent fills out a form and doesn’t hear back for a few days because your front desk staff was too busy, it sows doubt — and you may just lose that parent to another school.
When it comes to creating and retaining clients, a childcare CRM can make all the difference.
What Does a Childcare CRM Do Well?
When we refer to a childcare CRM, what we mean is a CRM that’s specifically designed for childcare centers like yours. So, what does a childcare CRM do so well — and automatically?
A childcare CRM collects the information clients include on your digital forms (tour inquiries and enrollment forms). The CRM captures all the information you need to turn a prospect into a client — the age of the child, what program the parents are interested in, how soon childcare is needed, contact information — and organizes that information for you.
Maintaining Communication Channels
Once the right data is captured, it’s organized and routed to the appropriate communication channel. Some communications are done automatically, some manually. Some are emailed, some texted.
How the childcare CRM communicates with clients depends on how you set up the CRM as well as on client preferences.
Keep in mind that manual communication through a CRM could potentially reintroduce a paper fiasco if not done properly. When a staff member realizes they need to contact a prospect but has a million other things going on at the moment — a child needs to be taken to the boo-boo room, an unhappy parent just walked in, etc. — it seems a lot easier to just jot something down on a piece of paper.
Unfortunately, that sticky note or paper form could get lost. Train your staff to always have their laptops open, and manual communication should be a breeze.
Creating an Order and Schedule of Communication
Configuring your childcare CRM means setting it up to work the way you want it to. Once you do, your CRM should remind you what to do and when to do it.
Automated responses will save you and your staff the most time while providing your clients with the fastest service. For example, if a prospect requests a tour, the childcare CRM will send an email thanking them for their interest and offering some available dates and times.
If a new client submits an enrollment form, they’ll get an email that says thank you, we received your form, and you’ve been added to the waiting list or the requested program. Later, the client will get an email containing a start date and important announcements or information they need to know for their first day.
Your childcare CRM will also send you manual reminders to continue engagement with your prospects as they move through your pipeline. It will even remind your front desk staff to follow up with a prospect who’s completed a tour request form but hasn’t scheduled a tour yet.
Remember, every point of communication reinforces your client’s peace of mind. It reassures them that they’re in the right place with a trusted partner who is helping raise their child.
In light of this, each email should include some kind of content about your school — current events and announcements, mission statements, faculty spotlights, etc. The opportunity to build rapport with your clients is just too great to miss, especially waitlisted clients who have already been accepted to your school. That’s a perfect chance for your childcare CRM to deliver content to them, saying, “We’re so glad you’ve enrolled — here are five more things you didn’t know about us!”
As we mentioned, a childcare CRM offers tremendous benefits when it comes to organizing data. There’s simply no way any paper-based system can compare.
Of course, the long-term rewards of a childcare CRM require an initial investment of time — you’ll have to train your front desk staff to use the software properly. But that investment will yield a team that delivers top-notch service for every client.
Analyzing Sales Funnel Data
Finally, a childcare CRM is smart enough to understand where each prospect is in your sales funnel according to what data is captured.
If a prospect is at the top of the funnel and needs additional information about your school, the childcare CRM will automatically send an informative email and/or digital packet with an invitation to tour. If they’ve completed a tour and are ready to enroll, they’ll receive a “Thank you for touring” email with enrollment instructions.
The Best Childcare CRMs
Two childcare CRMs we’ve worked with and really love are IntelliKid and ChildcareCRM/LineLeader. Both companies offer fantastic products and features unique to childcare centers. From efficient customer relationship management to online payment tools, you can find everything you need between these two platforms.
IntelliKid, which specializes in enrollment, promotes a five-pillar approach: Capture, Communicate, Engage, Organize, and Analyze. They offer partner integrations with Winnie, Google Data Studio, and more.
Lineleader (formerly ChildcareCRM) is used and recommended by over 5,000 childcare centers worldwide. It integrates seamlessly with Winnie and other applications. One of its products, CRM+, offers a more robust service to use across 3–25 centers and childcare enterprises.
Childcare CRM: Final Thoughts
If you’re looking for an exceptional childcare CRM for your center, we applaud you! It’s an excellent step to take in effectively managing client relationships.
We highly recommend IntelliKid and LineLeader. Give them a try to see how much time and money you can save while delighting your clients and capturing more leads than ever before!
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