In this age of technology we see businesses do one of two things. The first is Anti-technology. Everything is done on pen, paper and a handshake; you deal with a person face-to-face. The downside is that it sacrifices efficiency and convenience so it drives prices up. The second method is Pro-technology. It embraces efficiency through automated messages, mail outs, notifications, Social media like Facebook, and even text messaging. The downside is you never speak with a real person until you have pressed ‘1’ four times, assuming you haven't hung up in frustration before that. Or, you get, “We are having problems with our system,” so your services are interrupted. Being raised with technology but having worked for small businesses our whole lives gave us the perfect vantage point of how to combine useful technology while maintaining a personal relationship with our students! We do not do the cookie cutter, one size fits all concept. Do you prefer to schedule your appointments by phone, email, Facebook or text message? You choose how we contact you conveniently; we won’t just bombard you with phone calls.
For example, as a new student on your first visit, you will be greeted and shown the space (or you will be showing us the space if it's your home!). We will meet with you on your goals and explain anything that hasn't been covered in any previous conversations. We will give you options for how you are kept up-to-date on your progress. You can have a hard copy binder with your progress in dance, syllabus and any other dance related information; or we can send you a virtual copy via Google Docs. We can create a shared folder where only you and your teacher has access to your program progress notes. You can ask questions and send comments via the document and they can be responded to. This allows more convenience and personal interaction!
Our focus always has and always will be the student. We believe in having a strong relationship with your customer! Remember in the old days when you shared a meal and discussed business, when your insurance agent knew your family and was friendly in a non-greasy, genuine sort of way? We love knowing our students. Who they are as a person? Where do they like to eat? What do they enjoy to do outside of the studio? And most importantly, what is their "Why?" Why are they dancing?
To get to "Why" we deal with the "What" and "How" elements.
Lets look at a few examples:
If there was a couple, it could be that they are "empty nesters" looking to rekindle a relationship.
Maybe they used to dance and need some refinement in technique or just want to add a couple more dance steps to freshen up their two step for when they go out.
Or perhaps a single person coming in who has no spouse or children may want a hobby, something that takes time and is fun and can also add social adventure to the mix! There are endless combinations.
The couple's "What" is that they are empty nesters and their "How" is the extra dance steps or the technique.
The single person's "What" is that being single with no children or spouse can limit your social life when it shouldn't.
The "How" is something that takes time and is fun and can also add social adventure to the mix.
What is really fascinating, is that there is a common denominator we have discovered!
Their "Why" is a deeper concept, something more abstract.
Its their relationship, their happiness. With you. With each other. With other people.
Happiness. We want to be happy.
We achieve this by not looking at the student's watch, car, or super gold plated platinum diner's card, but at their happiness.
We strive for a smile from their face. From making new progress in a dance to just a hug and a "it's great to see you, welcome back home!" We surround our students with real people, real love and genuine service.
Honestly, we hadn't been in the dance business even for a decade before we noticed something missing. It wasn't the lack of training; it wasn't the lack of dance instructors or competitions. It was a lack of customer service. The average dance student has had three studio experiences and two of them are negative. When asked, we heard a mix of answers like price or personality but two things really stood out.
First, students felt that that their money mattered more than their dancing. This applied to the teachers sometimes but more often the studio owners. While the teacher would teach they may seemed distracted, not engaged in the lesson, or the opposite. The teacher would spend more time talking about dance than actually dancing. As for the owner in many instances, we frequently heard that the owner was rarely there unless money was due. Either that or the owner would be there but not in a productive capacity (such as overseeing the teaching quality or to help a group class or teach a private lesson themselves).
The second item was that there was not enough dance opportunities outside of their own studio's parties. They didn't get to use what they had paid for and it frustrated them. Who can blame them? When we worked for studios, it was heresy to talk about outside dance events. Even the students felt like it was taboo. It's no small secret that Dance lessons aren't cheap, so can you imagine spending that kind of money and not being encouraged to use what you paid for? Much like caging a bird, never letting it fly and when you do let it out, it is still confined by the ceiling in your home, never to stretch its wings in the open sky. So after some unique circumstances, we decided to fill this hole left largely by these type of schools.
I was at a local dance one night when a student who felt the way I just described earlier pulled me to the side to ask me a question. "Are all Ballroom studios like this? Are they all about selling cars and keeping students away from dancing outside of their own walls?" I told him no, but most were in my experience too.
I told him about a teacher I had when I was new in the business. This man was selfless and giving in everything he did. He would tell me stories of dance studios that made it their sole purpose to out-do their last party or event, not in sales and participation, but in "service" and "enjoyment" by the students. I felt like a child being told a legend for a bedtime story and that I was passing the same to my student. The Happy Ending to the story would be that one day there would be more studios that are about people and the love of the dance, not just the money it brings.
So why let the legend fade and die in our memories.
Lets rewrite history and make it a reality!
We are here solely to provide a service that has been demanded silently for decades and verbally for years.