I don't even remember the exact question, or how the topic came up, but I was discussing the standards I like to set and maintain at my studio. Right down to the details of what my lobby looks like when you walk in, or how clean the bathrooms are, etc. It got me thinking for the rest of the day about the details every time I walked in somewhere.
We all have those special restaurants or stores that we love, and also those places that we go into once and are turned off by immediately. The minute I walk into a dirty bathroom at a restaurant I know that I more than likely will not go back. If I am treated rudely in a store, I won't return and give them my business. The same is probably true with dance studios! If I was a parent and I walked into dirty dance studio that was not maintained I might be reluctant to return. Same with customer service at a studio, you go where you feel comfortable.
So, I made an extra effort tonight to organize the lobby and make sure everything was clean... kind of to practise what I preached! We offer quality classes at our studio, and a great learning environment, but for the majority of parents they don't know any better when it comes to dance classes and skill. They are likely to be happy at your studio for a variety of reasons, which may or may not include if you had taken out the garbage that night.
When it comes to small businesses I think that people take a lot more pride in the details, as it is all a reflection on them. I like to support small businesses for that reason among others. Tim Hortons doesn't care how dirty their bathrooms are, as people are likely to return for coffee regardless. That little ma and pa cafe down the street sells a great cup of a coffee as well, just without the flashy drive thru sign. Dance studios function in similar ways, and therefore it gives all studio owners the opportunity to attract the kind of client they want to have. The details that make your studio different, and what you offer to your clients is what will attract people to you, make them stay, or even send them running out the door.
I'm not saying that you'll lose your faithful clientele if you forgot to vacuum the lobby furniture this week, but it might just be one more thing for someone to complain about.
On my way to work tonight I stopped off at my favorite hole-in-the-wall sushi restaurant and ordered take out. I got to the studio and was really excited to eat before classes started, and then my heart sank... they had forgotten to give me chopsticks and wasabe to eat my sushi with = dinner ruined.
They quickly dropped to number 2 on my favorite sushi take out restaurant list... I'm just sayin'!