Ask the Experts: Rewarding Loyal Families and Students

Q: I’d like to reward my students and families for their loyalty and participation over the years. But I barely have enough time to keep track of important details. How can I do this simply?

A: People love to feel special! Here are some easy ways to show client appreciation.

Personalize a heartfelt welcome letter at the beginning of the year with students’ first names or other identifiers by using a mail merge (use your studio management software’s client database to automatically insert names into letters). For birthdays, rather than giving out individual cards, run a report with your studio management software each month and post the list to a birthday board. Take a photo of the birthday group and encourage your students to share it on social media.

Show that you appreciate students’ participation by giving away fun logo items during the holidays, at year-end performances or when they register. (We use pins, printed bags, nail files, stickers and pencils.) Consider thanking recital volunteers with gift certificates to use on logowear.

Our graduating high school students are invited, free of charge, to participate in our designated last number of the recital, which is choreographed by a senior student volunteer. It creates excitement and a happy capstone memory of their time at the studio. A special printed acknowledgment in the recital program goes a long way to show appreciation for graduates, parent volunteers, perfect attendance or special competition awards. Some studios give students a trophy or medal to recognize 5-, 10- or 15-year anniversaries at the studio.

The expense of these items and the investment of your time are offset by the goodwill created. Your clientele will know they are valued members of your dance community, and you’ll create a culture of gratitude that becomes part of your reputation.

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 by B Hansen Photography, courtesy of Suzanne Blake Gerety

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