Use these 4 easy ways to turn your program from a great product into an amazing experience for the club lacrosse parent.
As club lacrosse continues to grow, so does the demand for professionalism and first class experiences. So as a club director how do you provide the best experience possible, not only for the athletes but for your parents? My recent trip to the IWLCA President’s Cup can provide some answers into that question.
The Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Presidents Cup is an annual women’s lacrosse event held at the ESPN World Wide of Sports. The venue is an amazing 30+ field complex that makes for an unbelievable experience, not only for the tremendous athletes attending but for the thousands of coaches, parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends that attend as well.
Over 10,000 people filled the venue, proving that club lacrosse is not only here to stay, but has become an experience that parents want to spend most of their free time and money on. Clubs and coaches across the country are looking for more ways to provide better practices while developing young athletes. However, some are not spending enough time creating a better experience for the parent. And in the end, the club lacrosse parents are the customers.
It’s clear whether you’re running one, five, or 20+ teams with camps, clinics, tournaments, leagues, you have a passion to spread the game of lacrosse to the youth community. But at the same time you have taken on the responsibility of pleasing their parents. Parents are spending thousands of dollars on tuition, equipment, travel, and even though it doesn’t all end up in your pocket, parents don’t always know that or understand the difference.
It’s important that your parents, your customers, are given a first rate experience. And even though you might not have a venue as grand as the World Wide of Sports, you can still deliver an excellent product to your customer, on and off the field. Before this upcoming Spring and Summer season, take a second and think about your parents and how you help make things easier on them.
Below are 4 easy ways you can make things easier on the club lacrosse parent and deliver an amazing experience.
1) Plan a year’s worth of events with a club calendar
Create a schedule early and plan an entire year’s worth of events. Don’t worry about it being perfect- you can always adjust things later on if need be. Start your year with preseason tryouts and go from there. Figure out how many fall tournaments you want your teams to attend, then add the dates and locations allowing time for travel.
In the winter you can fill in any clinics, training regimens, or virtual training programs you plan to either attend or run. Coordinate with towns and high schools to cover spring ball and then add in any interesting summer events.
Don’t forget to make the calendar easily accessible for your parents on your website. To really enhance the customer experience, employing a tool like calendar sync will set up automated reminders sent directly to parents so they can easily plan accordingly well in advance.
2) Routinely schedule parent check-in meetings
It’s amazing to me to see the amount of clubs across the country that still struggle to communicate with parents effectively. In this age of information and technology, this could be a key way that you can separate your club from your competitors. In fact, that’s exactly how some of our lacrosse partners are staying ahead of the competition.
A scheduled parent check-in meeting can do wonders for your club. These meetings allow an excellent opportunity to better understand your customer and vice versa. Explain the value of available tournaments, summer camps, clinics and more with parents who are interested in college exposure, competition, team bonding, and experiences.
These meetings also allow an opportunity to show how their child is progressing. Use a data capturing tool to take out all subjectivity when reviewing development. Lori Brown, Director of T3 Lacrosse in New Jersey, uses SportsBoard so that parents have a full understanding of how their child is meeting expectations.
Finally, use these meetings to discuss different consumer options for the year. You can take the Team 91 route by offering an a la carte offering to parents, allowing them to pick and choose what program types parents want their kids to participate in. Or you can offer an all-inclusive package in which players will participate in all your events. Either way, have your customer pick a plan and stick with it.
3) Be transparent while maintaining professionalism
Parents are going to have questions. There’s no stopping that. But there are some things you can control before the question is even asked.
One pain point that routinely comes up revolves around billing. It’s important you be completely transparent when dealing with your customers’ money. Maintaining invoices and providing receipts is essential. Take it one step further be sending automated confirmation payment messages. Send out monthly payment reminders before the billing date.
Be like Uber when sending emails. Your emails are an extension of you and your brand, so be sure to use branded headers and footers in your emails. Uber does this and there’s no reason you can’t too.
Newsletters are a great way to keep your customers up to date with everything going on with your club. And don’t bombard parents with emails from random advertisers. Make sure every email they receive from you is on point with your message, your mission, and your brand.
4) Create smart partnerships
Finally, don’t be afraid to make partnerships with other coaches or competitors. In fact, look at competitors as another opportunity to deliver a great experience to your parents, especially if you’re running any specialized programs. LeagueApps partner and professional faceoff specialist Greg Gurenlian essentially revolutionized the industry by creating a niche program and working with clubs and clinics across the country.
But the key is to be smart about partnerships. You want to work with other mission driven lacrosse leaders. Make sure goals are aligned and expectations are set before a partnership is created. When choosing vendors, choose wisely. Make sure they are able to create high quality merchandise that can be delivered on time.
The club lacrosse parent experience you are providing is just as important as the one for the athlete. With that as a daily reminder, you should be able to continue to grow the game and stand out as a true community leader. And you won’t even need an amazing venue like World Wide of Sports.
Rohit is the Director of Enterprise Partnerships for LeagueApps. He has helped hundreds of lacrosse clubs across the country, including Adrenaline, Encore, and Team 91, among others. He loves to talk about lacrosse and how club leaders can maximize efficiency of their day-to-day operations. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.