I lost more students than usual last year, and I want to make sure that doesn’t become the norm. Do you think there’s any benefit to asking former studio parents why they left?
Offering exit polls using a free service like Survey Monkey can help you see if there’s any validity in the reasons parents have for leaving. If we see a trend with a certain teacher or class, we take notice and address those issues. Our exit survey includes questions like:
• What was your primary reason for leaving the studio or dropping a class?
• How would you rate the value of our dance education?
• If considering dance in the future, would you return to or
recommend our studio? If not, why?
But we also make it a habit to ask mid-year for feedback from all current students, to get a feel for areas where we can continue to improve. It’s good to see what the trends are year to year—we’ve used feedback in the past to make great improvements in our studio facility and improve our class placement policy. We ask questions like:
• Did you receive proper guidance for class placement?
• Is your teacher cheerful, encouraging, inspiring, organized and on time?
• Do you find the staff helpful?
• Did you receive personal corrections and encouragement from your teacher?
• What do you like most about being a student at our studio?
Schedule a meeting to discuss any issues you discover and resolve any conflict (when possible). However, the reality is that sometimes students will outgrow your studio or lose interest regardless of what you have to offer. Know that you can’t fix it for everyone—but you can address trends.
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