The New Battlefield of Music Lessons
Congratulations! You made the sale. You’re one more student closer to your monthly sales goal. Mission accomplished!
The mission has just begun. The mission is to amaze your new customer. To go beyond the expectation. To make them feel valued, important and celebrated. This is the new battlefield of business.
This is where you and your competition will go head to head. We all teach the same notes, scales and chords. The experience you create beyond the lesson is where real growth happens. The studio that creates the most magical experience is the studio that will capture the minds and hearts of their community.
Pricing Music Lessons
The battlefield in the past has been pricing. The one with the cheapest prices becomes the leader. This can work when your product has little value in the eyes of the market. This can work when there’s nothing clearly special about your product other than price. For those who read or listen to Seth Godin-you’ve heard this idea that when lowering prices is your unique selling point that it’s a race to the bottom. The good news for music schools is we’re selling something that is of high value. Youth enrichment. Parents don’t care about music lessons. They care about the enrichment music will bring to their child’s life. You are selling something parents value.
Coke Is It
The battlefield can sometimes be quality but look at the Cola wars. We know who the king of Cola is. Coke! We know who Coke’s arch rival is. Pepsi. Coke clearly tastes better than Pepsi, right? Pepsi is notorious for always beating Coke in taste test. From the perspective of taste and quality Pepsi is the winner. But the Coca Cola brand better captures our hearts and minds and remains the leader in the soft drink industry. Something else is at play here.
Extreme Moments of Awesomeness
Let’s look at customer experience. Youth enrichment business, music, dance, gymnastics, martial arts, are perfectly placed to go big with customer experience. Music studios have these built in mind blowing, life changing peak experiences. The recital, the concert-these are extreme moments of awesomeness, of self-realization for a child. It’s at moments like this that kids realize or discover what they’re capable of. How much value do you think parents place on that?
A Little Magic
But what about everything in between these stand out moments? The weekly routine lessons. The mundane has the potential to be magical. You just have to create these moments for kids.
Hot Buttered Popcorn
Danny Thompson creates memorable moments by serving hot buttered popcorn every day in a vintage looking carnival popcorn maker. Take a moment and think back to when you were 8 years old. Imagine what impact the sights, the smells and the taste this popcorn would have on you. I was a guest on Danny’s podcast, Music Lessons Business Academy, and we talked about the old restaurant The Ground Round. No one went there for the food. The food was OK. Everyone went there because they served a bottomless basket of peanuts at every table. You were encouraged by the wait staff to throw the peanut shells on the floor. Kids were allowed to make a mess. It was the best.
Do you think Danny Thompson feels the $50 expense for the popcorn maker was worth it? It’s added to the culture and customer experience (not to mention customer retention) This is not about music lessons. Something else is at play here.
Mike Grande creates magical moments by celebrating his students on social media. What’s so magical about it? The magic is in the feeling of pride he creates for these kids. The magic is in the feeling of pride and relief the kids parents feel when they see their child connecting with music and having a great sense of individuality. It’s in the new status Mike provides for these kids. This kid on Instagram playing guitar is no longer just a regular kid. He or she is now a musician. Musicians are considered to be special people. Gifted people. All parents want their child to be special, unique and gifted.
Today’s Guest Shep Hyken
[Choice cuts from the interview]
You said something important. You are focusing on the acquisition of your customers, right? If you ask people on the street, 99% of them will answer the question the same way. If you ask them what is the goal or what is the function of a business, most of them will state the goal of the business is to make money, but the true function of any business…is to get a customer and keep the customer. Dr Ted Levitt, the senior professor at Harvard Business School, and I believe I quote him in that book is to get and keep your customers. And if you confuse the function with the goal, you don’t always hit your goal.
Avoid the Burn of Churn
So in the growth and acquisition mode you’re trying to build critical mass, but if you don’t make those customers happy and want to come back, then you’re going to have to constantly be dealing with churn and sure you’re going to have people fall off. They’re going to fall off for a couple of reasons. One, they’re going to find out they don’t like it as much Two, there could be financial reasons that a parent can’t afford to pay for music lessons. Three, they move. Four the kid grows up and goes off to college and then all of a sudden you don’t have a customer.
The Power of Repeat Customers
The reason you shouldn’t lose a customer is because you weren’t good at what you do and you weren’t good at retaining that customer. So if the customer is able to be retained, and the majority by a long shot are they say, depending on how you look at it approximately 60 to 70% of your customers should be repeat customers over and over again on the different averages that you look at. But in our business, unless one of those other issues pop up, it should be closer to 80 to 90%. So sure you’re going to run into the kids who don’t like it and their parents make them go until there’s so much tension that they finally stop. But if you’re good and a kid wants to go forward-you as a teacher, nurture that kid just as you would nurture your best customer in any business.
A Gift For Your Students
You create a mini documentary of the progress over six months and watch. Then you hand this to them as a gift and you say, you know, I don’t know if you realize this, but check this out and maybe you do a four to five minute mini documentary. Once you create a template for this, it’s formulaic. You’ll spend a couple minutes.
So at the end of six months, you create this little documentary on a DVD or in some kind of a file digital file. You can send to them and say, here, and I’ll guarantee you, they’ll go, wow, that’s going to do two things. Number one, that’s going to be something that reminds them how great of an experience they had, which will help retain your customer. And number two, you don’t think they’re going to show this to their friends and their family, other family members. Then that’s going to grow your business. The best business that you can get doesn’t come from you directly. It comes from you being so good that your customers directly market for you.
Give Your Music Lessons Business a Karate Kick
You can translate all the benefits that you get from karate school into music school. And it’s not just about learning music, it’s about so many other things. It’s about exposing them to a broader world in addition to all the things we’ve talked about with the discipline of it practice and the confidence that we’re creating. I would say that anybody talking to a parent who’s bringing their kid in for music school for lessons, talk about the benefits beyond just a music (lessons). They’ll learn, oh my gosh, who wouldn’t be so proud of their kid at that moment?
Music Lessons and Magic
As we’re teaching our students, this is a moment in time that we must own that moment and customer service. We talk about owning the moment, which is any interaction that our customers have with us. It can go one of three ways. It can be a moment of misery. It could be bad, it could be, you know, anything that would be negative. It could be a moment of mediocrity, average, satisfactory, okay. You know, how was your lesson? And it was okay. I’m not going to say it’s the teacher’s fault. Sometimes if the student comes unprepared, it’s just going to be okay at best and maybe music isn’t for everybody, but for the ones that they get it. And you can create that moment of magic, that positive experience at every interaction and you’ve gotta be very conscious of it because every time a customer comes in, a student comes in to have a lesson that is a customer coming in to spend money with you.
Simple Doesn’t Mean Easy
If anything you manage the moment you recognize your two different buyers and what you need to achieve with each one. Recognize that your marketing that you do is provided sometimes by the best service and experience that you deliver. It’s not about just pounding the pavement and putting the ads out there and hope and that phone’s going to ring or that email inbox. So I think we’ve probably hit a few other things as well, but those are some of the highlights of what we’ve talked about today and boy, that’s a lot to work on and a lot to think about. They sound simple. Simple doesn’t mean easy, right? But it’s well worth the effort
Visit Shep Hyken Online
Intro music: Dusted by Fojimoto
Transition music: Levi Simon