Language schools devote a lot of energy and commitment to getting new students. They are expanding their offers, updating their websites, laying out marketing strategies, and increasingly appearing on social media. However, I have the impression that there is still little talk about relations with current students. And this is extremely important not only in the process of building a strong brand but also in long-term survival in the market. After all, no one treats their language school as a seasonal whim, right 😉 ?
Customer loyalty affects all indicators that are important in running a language school. Without satisfied students who will recommend and continue their education at your school, it has little chance of surviving in the market. New students are, of course, important in developing an educational business, but it usually takes a lot more time and money to acquire them than it takes to look after those already present. Not to mention the value and satisfaction of establishing long-term relationships. Both the students and your school are growing.
It costs 5 times more to convert new students than it does to maintain current customers.
Loyalty builds on an emotional basis and is based on trust and satisfaction. Another important pillar is the belief that the course meets the individual needs of the student better than the offers of other language schools. A student who has a positive experience with her/his school is willing to forgive minor slip-ups and understand and accept, for example, the change in the price of courses. Another advantage is that loyal students allow a language school to plan finances and marketing activities in advance and make better decisions.
Build student loyalty in 7 steps
1. Objectives and expectations – a commitment to transparency
I’d like to improve my English. When I am looking for the perfect course for myself, I have clear expectations towards it, i.e. I know what I would like to learn. Meanwhile, looking at the website of the language school and browsing the available courses I read in the offer:
- breaking the language barrier,
- immersion in the language,
- creative approach,
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? But what does this actually mean for the student? Without clear course goals and using vague language, your students may feel quite quickly that the course deviates from their expectations and they do not receive the value for which they paid. Take it a step further, put yourself in the position of your students and make it clear what your courses offer. You can start by looking at the offer/courses tab on the website and honestly answering the question of whether it presents a true picture of the student’s experiences.
2. Talk about learning progress
Nothing motivates us better than the clear effects of our hard work. The better we do, the more willing we are to act and the more appetite we have for further success. The same is true for continuing to learn a foreign language. Students who see themselves doing well are more likely to continue their studies. Generate descriptive feedback using your Language School Management Platform and show your students. When they see what progress they’ve made every year, they’ll be more motivated to expand their knowledge. It’s a little bit like trying to stay fit. We don’t see results until someone tells us we look good 😉
Friendly reminder No. 1: We like to brag. A person who talks about her/his progress and genuinely delights in it is the best quality certificate that can be received by your school.
Friendly reminder no. 2: If you have not yet generated descriptive feedback in LangLion (available from both the E-Register and the Secretariat), HERE is a guide for you on how to do it in a simple way.
3. Surprise and be remembered
As I said before, loyalty is very much embedded in emotions. And of course, the learning process itself can provide them, but the things that happen outside the box are most memorable to us. For example, my Spanish teacher organized a trip to Spanish Cinema Week. And that’s the added value that really stuck with me. Think about what would work for your school. Maybe a meeting with an inspiring guest, a monthly coffee conversation meeting, or watching a football match together? These events can build a really strong bond.
These are life stories taken from people, and they have a profound effect on the imagination and, of course, the emotions of the listener. And by extension, they build a bond. With the help of stories about your school, about yourself, your beginnings, and your passion for teaching, you will gain something more than a temporary motivation to purchase a course. You will gain sympathy, authenticity, curiosity, and finally also loyalty. Don’t you like talking about yourself? Tell the story of the school and the people who make it. It is also a good idea to tell the story of a student who broke the barrier to communication and achieved her/his goal, for example, by getting a new job when moving to another country.
5. Respond to reviews and feedback
Everyone wants to have as many positive opinions about their school as possible. It is often and most rightly appropriate to remind students that they should not be embarrassed and should evaluate the language school and the results of the courses. The students write that it is great, that they have learned a lot, you are pleased to read positive reviews. And what happens next? There is always a need to respond to the assessment, whatever it may be. This is how you show that you value the opinions of your students. It’s really cool on Google! Most schools are very professional in their ratings. However, on Facebook, it is no longer so great. Another friendly reminder: it is worth looking there too and catching up 😉
How to deal with negative opinions I wrote more HERE.
6. Use CRM
This system not only enables the collection of information such as communication and transaction history but also allows you to personalize marketing messages. With the data collected there, you can customize promotional offers and product recommendations, which a given student may be particularly interested in.
Guide to our CRM you will find HERE.
7. Customer service is essential
Language schools are wondering whether to raise prices, yet most people say they would pay more for a service if they were guaranteed to meet the highest quality of service. More than 89% of people who switched to the competition say they did so because of poor service quality. Quality of service is the third factor that affects both recommendations and advice against certain services. Only the professionalism and honesty of the company and the quality of the product precede it. Also, if you have any suspicion that communication is not working as it should, it’s worth checking it out.
Think about the products you reach for every day. What makes you decide to do it even though there are cheaper options? Maybe if you think deeper, you will not only understand the mechanisms of your students’ behavior but also discover a valuable source of inspiration.