“So sorry to bother you… can you remind me of the piano book fee for Emily please?” This email came through as I sat at my computer last night. I had two choices in how I answered.
1) Karen – the book fee is $22.40. Please send a cheque to Emily’s next lesson. Thank you.
2) Hi Karen – no bother at all. I’m sitting here doing work and eating Doritos… life is good! The book fee is $22.40. See you next week.
While either of the responses above would accomplish the job, I chose Option #2. Her response was a light-hearted “Awesome! Oh no…now I have a craving…”
The Importance of Being Human
For those of you who email back and forth with us, you know we lean more to the candid side when it comes to communication. As much as we take our businesses seriously, we really genuinely enjoy connecting with people. In this digital age, connecting with people is often only through written word. And so those words have to count.
We’ve blogged about the importance of building and maintaining relationships with your piano families quite a bit, and a large part of this can happen even in small moments like the one above. My Dorito confession accomplished two things:
1) She’s really going to remember to bring the book fee as she has a vivid mental image of me typing with orange-stained fingers.
2) Her image of me as being friendly, approachable and fun was reinforced. I am all those things, and so I want my clients to really know it! We had a “moment” – she joked back with me, therefore we have rapport.
Strong Relationships = Successful Studio
In an industry where word of mouth is king, having strong relationships with the clients in your piano studio is of the utmost importance. You may not see all of your piano parents every week, but you probably communicate with them fairly regularly. And while you always want to appear professional, letting down your guard to be human once in awhile does wonders.
Written communication can often come across as stiff and formal and sometimes can even be misinterpreted as being unfriendly. With a little touch of humour and/or a glimpse into who you are, your emails can instead work for you not against you; building rapport that will serve you well in many areas of your piano teaching business.
Laughter Accomplishes Lots!
If you’re sending home laughter-inducing materials regularly, your piano families are going to think you’re an absolute hoot! My kiddos are sent home with fun (and yet oh so valuable) activities from Shhh…Your Piano Teacher Thinks This is Practice and Pssst…Your Piano Teacher Thinks This is Theory. Many of these activities involve the entire family and will leave them associating YOU with laughter and smiles!