Before the emergence of COVID-19, technology was used to discuss news with parents and as a marketing tool. Now, technology is a necessary tool that childcare centres should implement into their operations if they want to maintain a successful relationship with existing and prospective families. Below is a list of key communication methods that centres have or should have implemented to help keep families informed.
Email is probably the first digital communication method that comes to mind as most, if not, all centres use it. Centres and parents can communicate with each other about the child, their progress, events coming up and other updates. Plus, this allows for parents to receive more frequent updates and to not have to take time out of their day to schedule an in-person meeting. For prospective families, childcare centres should also have a support or general email in which families can send in their questions.
Centres can also create a monthly newsletter in which they send a variety of information to multiple families. This can include lesson plans, important dates, new changes to the centre and special events amongst other topics. This provides centres another option of communicating important information to parents other than with a physical newsletter or when they pick up their child.
2. A Website
A website is not only a key communication tool that childcare centres should have, but also an important marketing tool. Centres can post their values, the services they offer, other qualifications they may have as well as frequently-asked questions. This provides extra information to existing and prospective families about the centre. Having a website reduces the need for parents to call and ask questions to the centre, as most of the information will be displayed on the website.
In regard to marketing, having a professional-looking and user-friendly website can help centres improve their presence in the market as well as communicate the quality of their daycare. If a centre does not have a website like this, then it can communicate to families that the centre also is not of high-quality. It could also reduce the chances of contemplating families from selecting the centre for their child.
Another arising use of a website is for a childcare centre to provide a variety of other resources that may be beneficial to parents, such as a blog.
The use of a blog can be a great way for daycares to post information that may be too lengthy for an email or is a topic frequently discussed. It can be a resource that parents turn to whenever they need advice or want to learn more about a specific topic. What’s great about blogs is that it can all be kept in one place (most likely, the centre’s website) so that parents can refer back to them whenever they need to. For example, childcare centres can create blog posts that center around the current situation, such as keeping children entertained during lockdown and advice on online learning at home.
4. Social Media
Social media is a great communication tool that can help spread word of childcare centres as well as current events. Similar to a website, childcare centres can communicate their services and centre updates to a larger audience that may consist of existing and/or prospective families. The childcare centre may have recently reopened, for example, and the daycare can post this new update to let parents know that they can use the centre’s services again.
It can also be used as a resource, in which centres can post information about topics that may interest parents. For example, a childcare centre can create and share a list of activities that kids can do at home during COVID-19.
Additionally, centres can advertise that they have open spots or any deals they may have at the time. Thus, this can help spread the word of the centre to people who may not have known it existed at the time.
While not common, using an app can be a helpful tool for parents and daycares. It can be of many uses to both parties, such as sharing the daycare’s schedule for the day, communicating daily updates or reminders to families, or can allow daycares and parents to individually message each other. Another great use is for daycares to allow parents to book and fill open spots via the app. This can not only spread the word of the daycare to other parents, but also allow daycares to fill their open spots that would have otherwise been empty. Thus, this can help maximize their revenues while also communicating to parents that they can be flexible.
Technology is a key component used in all of the communication methods mentioned above. While they would be most beneficial to use during these current circumstances, centres should still retain these methods post-COVID. It would simplify the task of communicating with families as centres grow and will be a key marketing tool to expand their presence in the market.