Q: I’ve been receiving a lot of complaints lately. I know I cannot please everyone, but I’m concerned about losing students and valuable staff members, and sometimes such criticism makes me question my own business practice. Do you have any advice for dealing with a string of complaints and how to cope with the toll it takes on me, the studio owner/dance teacher?
A: People will have opinions about every aspect of your business. Learning how to handle criticism and complaints with grace and professionalism is a necessary part of good studio management. The willingness to address dissatisfaction from parents, students, teachers and staff gives you the opportunity to improve services and strengthen your leadership skills.
Realize that, on occasion, you will fail to meet your own and others’ expectations. Listen to, evaluate and respond to all input. Give them an adequate opportunity to communicate issues with you constructively. Use evaluation forms, phone calls and meetings to address concerns as they arise. You will gain the trust and respect of everyone at your studio when they know that their two cents matters. But learn to distinguish between areas that you can and are willing to change, versus a person or problem that takes an unfair measure of your time and energy.
Most importantly, run your business from your own personal style and not as an attempt to please everyone. It takes maturity and experience to accept that you and your studio cannot be all things to all people.
Kathy Blake is the owner of Kathy Blake Dance Studios in Amherst, New Hampshire. She and Suzanne Blake Gerety are the co-founders of DanceStudioOwner.com.
Photo: ©iStockphoto.com/Jenny Swanson