The team at Sawyer is constantly inspired by the resourcefulness of educators throughout this uncertain time. Many businesses sprung into action through school closures and social distancing and created magical content that brought spirit and uniqueness to homes throughout the country. Take a deep breath and give yourself a minute to reflect on how amazing and essential that work has been. Your hard work does not go unnoticed — and now it is time to shift energies to an uncertain summer.
Get ahead of your communication to families! Consider outlining options that show how you’re adjusting your summer offerings and factor in any changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
How to communicate options that take care of your customers and your business
This NY Times article outlines the challenges that consumers face as they make decisions about when and how to request refunds for future services. Customers can understand — to a certain extent — the strain that refunds put on small businesses. That doesn’t mean that all are comfortable with their funds being held for services that haven’t been rendered.
If you haven’t already, start by sending an email to all families registered in summer programs to give options for their enrollment. Any customer issues and requests are best handled over the phone to offer a hopeful resolution through conversation. Remember, financial hardships are impacting businesses and customers alike. The best thing you can do is listen, offer solutions, and come to an agreement.
The best course of action is to offer a variety of flexible solutions that honors both the priorities of your customer and your business. As a business owner, you need to maintain a positive cash flow to prevent further financial hardships. A customer needs to feel that they have control over the decision making for their child’s enrollment and if necessary, get a refund for any services that they have paid for in advance.
Thinking through solutions? You have options!
You can offer full refunds or a scheduled approach to partial refunds. It's important to know that refunds are sometimes inevitable regardless of your standard cancellation policies. Make exceptions whenever possible and work with families to prevent unnecessary disputes.
Offering credits to families for future services is another way to mitigate financial hardships from cancellations. You may want to offer bonus credit or added value if families accept this in lieu of a refund. Learn how to offer credits using our Add to Balance Gift Card feature.
While donations may only appeal to a smaller subset of parents, it never hurts to offer them as another option for retaining fees. Especially in the case of a smaller registration fee or deposit, donations may be an option that parents are able to consider as they think through ways to support your business. Make sure to review guidance on accepting donations and tax-deductible options for non-profit organizations.
We’ve created an email template that you can customize for your business to kickoff the summer conversation. Use the button below to get the template and edit this as needed with the offers that make the most sense for your business.
Keep in mind that this communication has two goals: to keep unhappy customers at a minimum and mitigate the number of refunds you will have to immediately process.