Dive Into 2023: Delivering the Ultimate Childcare Staff and Family Experience
2023 LineLeader Benchmark Report for Childcare Businesses to Scale with Insights from Real Data
Table of contents
- Today's Staff and Family Childcare Experience
- The Staff Journey - Fragmented and Time-Consuming
- The Family Journey - Tedious and Inconvenient
- What You Need to Know About Millennial and Gen Z Parents
- The Impact of a Poor Family Experience
- The Impact of a Poor Staff Experience
- 5 Key Takeaways to Delivering the Best Childcare Staff and Family Experience
- Key Takeaway #1 - Centralize Lead Capture to Improve Response Time
- Key Takeaway #2 - Deliver Personalized Moments and Experiences
- Key Takeaway #3 - Empower Families with Self-Service Options
- Key Takeaway #4 - Automate Manual, Time-Consuming Tasks
- Key Takeaway #5 - Regularly Report on Business Performance
- Investing in Your Staff and Family Experience
Letter from LineLeader CEO, Matt Amoia
Thanks for checking out our 2023 Benchmark Report. For the past decade, we've analyzed aggregate data from our 6,000 childcare center customers across five countries to identify ways to help you boost enrollment and retention. This year, we're also including results from our survey of 3,500 professionals to share insights on what drives a great childcare staff and family experience.
In the following pages, we'll review the challenges with today's childcare experience, what you should know about Millennial and Gen Z parents, and how a poor childcare staff and family experience impacts your business. Then we'll share five key takeaways to help you deliver an exceptional childcare experience along with best practices you can implement at your childcare business.
Today's Staff and Family Childcare Experience
You use a variety of tools to run your childcare business, like software for lead management, marketing automation, center management, payment processing, staff management, payroll, and more. But the problem is that these tools either don't communicate with each other or require customization to partially communicate. This creates a fragmented experience for staff and families.
For employees, learning and managing multiple tools is challenging. When the tools don't integrate with each other, it's hard for staff to do their job. Information in one product differs from the information in another, which frustrates staff and results in inaccurate information being shared with parents. And the cost of training on multiple products plus the actual cost of purchasing all these products adds up fast.
For families, this often means creating multiple accounts and remembering multiple logins when interacting with your center. This can be particularly frustrating for Millennials and Gen Z parents, who want mobile-first, digital experiences and want to self-serve as much as possible. And frankly, everyone's looking for a better experience.
The Staff Journey - Fragmented and Time-Consuming
Today's childcare staff don't want to deal with complicated technology, manual processes, and stacks of paperwork. Unfortunately, their experience from onboarding to center management includes all these obstacles and more.
What Staff Want from Their Current Childcare Providers
- Automated tasks that save time
- Easy ways to engage families
- Easier center management
- Access to real-time data
- Unified technology
The Family Journey - Tedious and Inconvenient
From the first Google search for a childcare center to their child’s preschool graduation, families are seeking exceptional digital experiences along their early learning journey. Unfortunately, their childcare experience is often tedious, impersonal, and inconvenient.
What Modern Families Want from Their Childcare Providers
- Fast responses
- Unified experience
What You Need to Know About Millennial and Gen Z Parents
Millennials (80% of today's parents with children under 12) and Gen Z (predicted to be the majority of first-time parents in the US before 2025) are your primary parent demographics, and as digital natives, they have high expectations for personalized, digital experiences. Modern families are busier than ever, so they expect a smooth, hassle-free childcare experience that is personalized and digital-first, both before and after enrolling for care. Learn more about your target audience - Millennial and Gen Z parents.
The Impact of a Poor Family Experience
Losing Millennial and Gen Z parents because you don't provide the experience they want is costly. And one bad experience is all it takes to lose them. More than half of consumers (54%) say they'll stop using a brand after just one bad experience.
Let's say you're charging $1,000/month in tuition, that's $12,000/year for each family. If you lose just 10 families because your childcare experience doesn't meet their needs, it's costing you $120,000 annually in revenue. With a better family experience, more families enroll to create an ongoing, predictable revenue stream.
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. Their positive reviews pull in prospective families and influence their decision to enroll at your center. Conversely, parents who haven't had a pleasant experience scare off potential families with negative reviews.
The Impact of a Poor Staff Experience
In our recent survey, we found that hiring and retaining staff is a top business challenge for childcare businesses. This isn't anything new, staff retention has been a challenge in childcare since 2020. And for good reason—it costs 30-50% of your employee’s annual salary to replace them.
Let's say you lose a Teacher making $32,000/year. It costs $10,666—at a minimum—to replace them. This is due to the costs of paid job postings, hiring bonuses, and even the time you or your directors spend interviewing new candidates.
By giving staff the experience they want—easy-to-use technology, automation for repetitive tasks, and less paperwork—you retain more of them because they're happier at their job. Unfortunately, many childcare centers don't take advantage of modern technology that reduces manual, time-consuming tasks.
In our latest industry survey, we found that over half of childcare professionals said their teams spend a lot of time each week on tasks that should be automated. Boost staff retention with unified technology.
Staff Time Spent on Manual Tasks
- 7+ hours a week on lead follow-up
- 4+ hours a week on tour scheduling
- 7+ hours a week managing enrollment paperwork
- 7+ hours a week on billing and payment
- 7+ hours a week on time and attendance
- 7+ hours a week sending updates to families about their child's day and milestones
Download the guide to stay up to date on the latest industry news, trends and best practices for growing and managing your childcare business.
5 Key Takeaways to Delivering the Best Childcare Staff and Family Experience
Based on our research, we’ve identified five takeaways to improve the childcare experience for both staff and families in this benchmark report. By implementing these strategies, you can create a simple and convenient experience for everyone, which leads to higher enrollment and revenue.
- Centralize lead capture to improve response time.
- Deliver personalized moments and experiences.
- Empower families with self-service options.
- Automate manual, time-consuming tasks.
- Regularly report on business performance.
Key Takeaway #1 - Centralize Lead Capture to Improve Response Time
Lead response time is the single largest driver of conversion success.
Did you know that 80% of Millennials expect immediate responses and 60% of Gen Z are more likely to hang up if their call isn't answered within 45 seconds? That's why it's crucial to follow up with leads quickly.
One way to improve your lead response time is to centralize and automate your lead capture process. This helps you organize all your leads in one place and send automated follow-up emails, whether your leads come from phone calls, Facebook messages and ads, online directories, or your website. When you do this, you maximize your chances for success across your childcare business.
Best Practices to Improve Lead Response Time
- Instantly capture and respond to phone calls. Almost 25% of inquiries from your childcare business come from phone calls.
- Streamline lead communications from Facebook. 90% of parents use Facebook every week.
- Immediately capture and reply to leads from childcare directories. Childcare listing directories, like Kinside or Winnie, make it easy for parents to learn about your center. Plus, using a listing directory can improve your website's ranking on Google by providing a reputable link back to your site.
- Use landing pages and web forms to capture interest. 70% of childcare owners and directors use landing pages and web forms to capture more leads.
Want more information about tips to improve lead response time? Download the full benchmark report here.
Key Takeaway #2 - Deliver Personalized Moments and Experiences
Personalization is essential for both enrollment and retention success.
Did you know that almost two-thirds of Gen Z consumers (64%) expect brands to provide a personalized experience? And a whopping 71% of consumers get frustrated when their shopping experience is impersonal.
Personalization is crucial for success in the enrollment process and in maintaining relationships with enrolled families. By consistently providing personalized communication—customized messages, unique content, updates on curriculum and meal planning—and letting staff receive parents' real- time feedback, you'll engage with families more effectively and build meaningful relationships.
Best Practices for Personalizing Interactions with Families
- Engage families with consistent, tailored content. 66% of consumers won't make a purchase if they receive content that isn't personalized to their unique needs.
- Build a better connection with new leads using personalization keys. Address your reader by their first name to grab their attention, and consider using personalized touches like using their first name, referencing the specific program they inquired about, and sharing content that relates to their child's age or developmental stage.
- Share developmental milestones regularly. Our survey revealed that 42% of childcare professionals reported sending updates to families about their child's development 2-3 per week. Families expect these personalized experiences.
- Update families on curriculum and meal planning. 32% of childcare businesses consistently communicate with enrolled families at least once a day.
- Enable staff to receive real-time feedback from families. To deliver the personalized experience that families want, it's helpful to gather feedback from parents. Digital surveys are a fast and easy way to collect feedback.
Key Takeaway #3 - Empower Families with Self-Service Options
Self-service options increase parent satisfaction rates.
In today's busy world, finding ways to save time is essential. Self-service options help parents manage common childcare tasks on their own time, like scheduling tours, completing registration forms, and paying tuition, without putting extra burden on your staff. In fact, 40% of millennials prefer self-service methods over interacting with businesses in person.
Some benefits of offering self-service include increased efficiency, less time spent on administrative tasks, an improved parent experience, fewer missed opportunities, and streamlined communication. By providing self-service options, your staff can focus on other important tasks. And best of all, you'll increase your parent satisfaction rates by giving them what they want.
Best Practices for Providing Family Self-Service Options
- Let families schedule tours from your website. 78% of our top converters have parent-scheduled tours enabled.
- Digitize forms for registration, wait lists, field trips, and more. In our recent survey, we found that only 11% of childcare professionals say they receive registration paperwork back within a day.
- Accept online payments to save staff and family time. 50% of Millennials don't carry cash and 53% of Gen Z consumers prefer to shop online.
- Make drop-off and pick-up easier with digital check-in and check-out. Child pick-up and drop-off can be challenging for families. One solution is to provide an app that lets parents leave important notes for the teacher, like information about their child's meals or any health concerns.
Key Takeaway #4 - Automate Manual, Time-Consuming Tasks
Manual, time-consuming tasks are eating up six-plus hours a week.
Have you ever wished you and your staff could save more time at work? Over 60% of workers estimate that they could save six or more hours a week by automating repetitive tasks. That’s almost a full week of lost productivity every month!
This is especially relevant in the childcare industry, where there are so many manual tasks involved in managing leads, keeping parents updated, running your center, and retaining families. These manual follow-ups, reminders, record-keeping, and reporting waste time that could be spent on more valuable activities.
Automate these tasks to streamline the childcare experience for parents and to save staff time. High-converting childcare businesses already do this with great success, giving them more time to focus on providing the best possible care for their families.
Best Practices for Automating Time-Consuming Tasks
- Automate follow-up communications to new leads. Studies show that the center that follows up first has a much higher chance of getting that enrollment - around 80% higher.
- Streamline how teachers share daily reports with families. Millennial and Gen Z parents want digital experiences and in-depth information about their child's progress. Our survey found that 60% of childcare businesses spend 7+ hours per week sending updates to families about developmental milestones.
- Automate staff reminders about tours, new child start dates, and more. Use automation to send emails and text reminders to staff about appointments, so they never miss a tour or forget about a new child's start date.
- Automate tuition billing and invoicing. In our recent survey, we found that 66% of childcare businesses collect checks and cash onsite rather than enabling parents to pay digitally.
- Update and keep track of records in real time. Are you tired of running around with walky-talkies trying to take attendance? Digital check-in and check-out for children and staff help you track where your students and teachers are at all times, ensuring you remain in compliance.
Key Takeaway #5 - Regularly Report on Business Performance
"You can't manage what you can't measure."
As a business leader, you make a lot of important decisions that impact your enrollment and profitability. That's why it's important to regularly report on business performance to continually improve enrollment, marketing, and operations.
With the right childcare software, you can use standard reports to quickly view performance and custom reports to get in-depth insights. In fact, our top performers use 4X more custom reports to get a deeper insight into business trends. With this information at your fingertips, you can make data-driven decisions to improve your business.
Best Practices for Regular Reporting
- View key enrollment performance metrics. of our top converters have parent-scheduled tours enabled. In our survey, 37% of childcare professionals said that collecting and preparing data manually takes a significant amount of time and hinders their team's success.
- Measure staff and family engagement. On the other hand, a highly engaged workforce can increase profitability by 36%. One way to track and improve staff engagement is to use childcare software that provides a Scheduled Task report. It's also important to focus on family engagement, as 76% of parents want to hear from schools at least once per week.
- Occasionally, families may need to drop out of your care due to unforeseen events such as illness, a move, or the loss of a job. You can use reports to build a list of families to reach out to and re-engage. Re-engagement campaigns are effective, as 45% of recipients who receive re-engagement emails typically read them.
- Forecast key financials for your business. A high volume of revenue is being processed by childcare centers each month, with 28% of centers processing $20,000 or more, according to our survey. It's important to understand your current and projected revenue and where it's coming from.
- Give directors the insight they need to be successful. In our survey, nearly 55% of childcare businesses spend between 4-9 hours per week compiling reports by hand. Automating reports can save time and improve efficiency.
Investing in Your Staff and Family Experience
Save time, grow enrollment, and simplify center management with LineLeader, the first and only platform to offer full-featured customer relationship management (CRM) software, a family engagement app, and childcare management software (CMS) in one unified platform.
With LineLeader, you can optimize your staff and family experience while managing your business more efficiently. And LineLeader is trusted by more than 6,000 childcare centers worldwide. To learn more, visit www.lineleader.com.
Download the guide to stay up to date on the latest industry news, trends and best practices for growing and managing your childcare business.
Additional Content Resources
For more information on specific childcare resources regarding marketing tools, campaigns, tips, and best practices - see below.
1. Learn the importance of delivering the ultimate childcare staff and family experience.
2. See why today's families and staff are looking for a better experience.
3. Understand more about 5 essential takeaways to elevate your childcare experience.
4. Millennial and Gen Z parents are your target audiences - learn about their digital behavior and experience preferences.
5. Maintaining a healthy work environment is crucial. Check out tips to boost staff retention at your center.
6. Dive into 2023 with additional insights from our benchmark report.
7. Streamline success, with less work. Take a glance at 8 keys to falling in love with your childcare business.
8. Improve your lead response time with these expert tips.
9. Deliver personalized experiences to families.
LineLeader Video Resources
Introducing LineLeader, the only unified childcare platform that delivers full-featured customer relationship management (CRM) software, family engagement app, and childcare management software (CMS)—together in one solution.
Check out our helpful video resources below! 👇