Last week, I reflected that the concept of customer-centricity suggests that it is not enough for a school to rely on reputation to attract new students. It must also clearly articulate how a prospective student’s needs will be met and aspirations realized if he or she was to enrol.

That is not to say that reputation is not important. It is.

Customers are better at finding new customers than the company that is trying to find them. That is also true of schools. Families are better at finding new families than schools. A school generally only knows the families that are directly connected to it now or have been in the past. While attempts are made to attract new families, a school has no connection to those families other than by way of advertising or brand-positioning. Unless, those families are friends with or have met a parent of a child that already attends the school.

The selection effect would suggest that if an enrolled family recommends the school to a prospective family, the lifetime value of that new family to the school is usually higher than if the family was recruited directly by the school. That means they are more likely to stay with the school and recommend it to other families.

Are schools doing enough to leverage the recruiting power of their families?

Wharton Online