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How to Navigate the Parent Enrollment Journey 


An In-Depth Guide for Childcare with Tips and Best Practices to Help Providers Understand Changing Parent Expectations

How Can You Navigate Changing Parent Expectations? 

The old way of managing the parent experience from initial inquiry through family retention doesn’t work anymore. It’s inconvenient and full of obstacles that cause families to choose another childcare center altogether. Learn how to tackle these changes head-on. Set your childcare businesses up for success.

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The Challenges with Today's Parent Experience

The parent experience defines the journey a parent takes from initial inquiry to retention, including key conversion points along the way. Today’s parent experience is often a series of starts and stops that can take several months. It is inconvenient, time-consuming, and full of obstacles that cause families to choose another childcare center altogether.

A recent LineLeader by ChildcareCRM enterprise customer explains, “Our families have indicated dissatisfaction with the current enrollment process. Families told us that our process for enrollment was lengthy, painful, incorrect, information was lost, and lacked customer service satisfaction.”

Common challenges with the parent experience include:

  1. Slow or no response to new inquiries and tour requests.
  2. A time-consuming childcare enrollment process.
  3. Limited or no ongoing communication to encourage retention.
  4. Plus, it's tough to understand how to retain staff as well.
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What You Need to Know About Millennial Parents

Millennials make up 80% of today’s parents to children under the age of 12; meaning a convenient experience is more important than ever. Millennials are one of the first generations to grow up in the digital age, and they use social media, texting, and their mobile devices more than any other parent demographic has in the past. Millennial parents want streamlined, digital experiences for everything from shopping and banking to childcare services.

How the Parent Experience Affects Enrollment and Retention

Each step in the parent journey represents a conversion point where parents can choose another center. Missing a few leads, not following up after a tour, losing parents that never completed enrollment paperwork—these seem like small things, but they all add up.

Pre-enrollment and post-enrollment communications both factor into conversion success, as well as retention success, throughout the parent enrollment journey. Enrollment retention and maintaining high parent satisfaction not only involves consistent communication but keeping track of your enrollment retention rate as well. 

In addition, when parents feel their time is valued and their experience was simple, they’re more likely to give positive reviews and talk about you to others. 

Standardize Enrollment Across Centers or Childcare Franchise Locations

For childcare organizations with multiple brands, schools, or programs - increasing revenue and keeping families happy is vital for growth. Your Millennial parents need a uniform, high-quality experience, regardless of location.

Create consistent enrollment processes across all your franchise locations to ensure every family has a great experience and a positive association with your brand – leading to higher conversion success and profitability.  

Your franchisees’ marketing approach and advertising material must follow all your corporate brand guidelines. Your organization should have a lead management system that supports your childcare franchise staff as they guide families through the decision-making journey while also ensuring each location is delivering a consistent parent experience. 

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Offer Easy Ways for Parents to Inquire Online, Then Respond Quickly

With 67% of Millennial parents shopping online, having an effective website and digital marketing strategy is essential to generating leads. LineLeader by ChildcareCRM found that 51% of new leads came from online sources and the best converters completed tours with those new leads within 24 hours. Plan a targeted enrollment strategy that creates easy ways to inquire about your childcare business online.

Further, we. found that top converters use a minimum of 6 web forms to capture lead information. Provide self-service options like digital tour scheduling, online enrollment forms, and more. Here are a few key best practices (download the report to get full insights and data).

  1. Optimize your website with web forms and landing pages. Turn it into a lead generator!
  2. Use Facebook as a lead capture tool.
  3. Know where your leads are coming from. View easy-to-digest reports. 📊

Enable Parents to Self-Serve

Today's parent enrollment experience has dozens of key conversion points where parents can become disengaged. Self-service is a great way to give parents more suitable online options and, ultimately, grow your daycare enrollmentSelf-service allows parents to manage common enrollment tasks when it's convenient for them, provides parents with a more personalized experience, and makes the process more efficient for both parents and childcare staff. Some of the most useful applications of self-service throughout the parent journey include parent-scheduled tours, online enrollment, and automated billing.

See essential self-service best practices here:

  1. Make it easy for parents to schedule tours on your website.
  2. Offer online options for enrollment. Provide digital forms and automated billing.
  3. Pre-fill form information when possible. Save families valuable time. 🕑
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Communicate the Way Parents Want

Each type of parent requires a level of quick, personalized follow-up - whether it's to generate more prospective enrollment(s) or reengage lost opportunities. Enhance your enrollment process with quick, streamlined communications. 

60% of today’s parents prefer to communicate with businesses through text messaging. They see text messaging as less invasive than phone calls and more personal than other forms of communication, such as email. Compared to email, open rates for text messages are as high as 98%, and on average it only takes 90 seconds for someone to respond to a text. Plus, we found that top converters send 13 times as many individual text messages to their leads. Take a look at a few best practices:

  1. Use group texting to communicate with new leads and engage your waitlist.
  2. Schedule tours, send reminders, and more through text. Look for the best childcare software that lets you automate text communications to guide families.
  3. Offer multi-language options for enrollment forms. In a survey, we found that 56% of families request forms in languages other than English.

Download the guide to stay up to date on the latest industry news, trends and best practices for growing and managing your childcare business.

Guide Families through Enrollment

There are many steps in the parent journey from new inquiry to tour scheduled, tour completed, and waitlisted or registered. Without guidance, parents can get lost along the way. Guide parents through the journey with automated communications that let them know what to do next and how to move forward. ChildcareCRM found that automating 5-10 workflows is the ideal number to guide families through enrollment and retention. Check out key takeaways for using automation at your centers.

  1. Use workflow automation to help families navigate enrollment. Personalize key messages.
  2. Automate tasks to reduce manual work and save time.
  3. Integrate with platforms (or find an all-in-one solution) to minimize errors.
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Let Parents Pay Tuition Online

With increasingly busy schedules, today's parents often use technology. In fact, 94% of Millennials are active users of online banking and 21% have never written a check. Providing automated billing and invoicing is important for saving staff time and giving families the convenient options they're looking for. Look for a unified platform that's easy to use and keeps financial data secure.

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The Impact of Covid-19 on Childcare Businesses, Parents, and Children

First, the average number of monthly opportunities has increased. Additionally, conversion rates from ‘tour completed’ to ‘waitlisted’ or ‘registered’ have increased. And finally, the number of ‘tours completed’ in 24 hours has increased. With opportunities and conversion rates back to pre-pandemic levels, childcare centers should invest in their marketing to build waitlists, grow enrollment, and improve retention.

In addition, Covid-19 has drastically affected children's mental health. Ensure your directors, staff, teachers, and classrooms are equipped to provide all the necessary resources to support the mental health of each and every child enrolled at your centers. Build children's mental health awareness into your classroom curriculum and provide a safe space to talk with families. 

Check Out Additional Video Resources to Help You Elevate your Childcare Business

 

 

Download the Benchmark Report to Get Extra Insight

In this guide, we covered each topic of our benchmark report at a high level. 

Download the full guide and email templates by entering your email below.

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Download the guide to stay up to date on the latest industry news, trends and best practices for growing and managing your childcare business.

Resources to help you run your childcare business.

Additional Resources

For more information on specific childcare resources regarding marketing tools, campaigns, tips, and best practices - see below.

1. Check out how you can improve how you communicate with parents.

 

2. Explore easy ways to track enrollment retention throughout the parent journey.

 

3. See why your organization should have a lead management system that supports your childcare franchise staff as they guide families through the decision-making journey.

 

4. Discover how to retain staff and enrolled families.  

 

5. Effortlessly unlock more enrollment conversions with the best childcare software

 

6. Learn additional ways to optimize your enrollment strategy for a streamlined parent journey. 

 

7. View important tips to rebuilding prospective enrollment(s) and lost opportunities by engaging with parents at different points in your pipeline.

9. Make it easy for parents to inquire and see why following up with seven engagements is vital for growing your daycare enrollment.

 

10. Understand how to engage with today's parents and prospects to deliver a convenient, streamlined enrollment process

 

11. Learn what it takes to make the enrollment experience smoother for Millennial parents.

 

12. Take a glance at a standard enrollment funnel to learn how to enhance your own enrollment journey.

 

13. Learn about the power of offering easy ways for parents to inquire for care. Provide a daycare enrollment form to make it simple for parents to reach you.

 

14. Check out the best touring practices to follow at your childcare center to increase enrollment rates and guide parents through each stage.