Three Magic Words To Quickly Resolve Parent Conflicts
Today’s blog is a nugget of GOLD my friends, and I know it’s something we’ve all dealt with, struggled with, or experienced in our time as dance educators and dance studio owners.
Today I’m sharing a strategy for how to quickly resolve parent or customer conflicts so they don’t escalate to unnecessary drama. If Abby Lee Miller like drama is your jam, then you’ll want to exit out real quick like; this is not the place for you.
So let’s get right to it! The vast majority of conflicts arise because one person feels they’ve been overlooked, taken advantage of, not listened to… fill in the blank. Bottom line: someone hasn’t felt heard or seen. I know this is true in my own relationships - if I feel like my husband hasn’t heard my request for help, or my girlfriend “ignored” my text (which was really a call for support), I get upset.
Now, this may occur on the part of a parent for their child (Mama Bears + Papa Bears rearing up to protect their young), or it might be that a parent him/herself has a complaint of their own, separate from their child.
Here’s the thing to remember: 9 times out of 10 a customer’s complaint has more to do with them than with you. For example, perhaps a parent is complaining they didn’t receive an email, or notice of a changed rehearsal or class, and is upset. Their anger is usually more a deflection of their own guilt or shame at having been too busy to really read their correspondence, or having forgotten, than it is about you.
Now, that’s all considering that you, the studio owner or teacher, did everything they were supposed to (send the email, make the phone call, follow up, etc.). Resolving conflict is one part double checking your system to really make sure nothing on your end fell through the cracks, and another part psychology.
So assuming everything on your end was in tip top shape, and there’s nothing on your end you could have done to avoid the misunderstanding, here’s all you need to say to quickly resolve the conflict: Help me understand.
And here’s why these three little words are key: it puts the ball back in their court and takes you out of the hot seat. It allows the other person time to say their piece, gives you a bit of space to listen (and really do listen, don’t just tune out), and it’s a clear signal that you want things to be resolved.
Another bottom line: most people are doing the best they can with what they’ve got.
This is a generous thing to remember when dealing with conflict; the parent you’re dealing with may have a whole lot on their plate that again, might not have much to do with you. Or, they may truly be upset on the part of their student and want to speak up for them, but rarely do others create conflict just for the fun of it. (And if they do, they’re not likely the kind of customers you want at your studio, and you might want to tell them that your studio is not a good fit for them.)
So then what, after you’ve said these three magic words? Well, you let them talk, and that’s it. Acknowledge that you’ve heard them and thank them for sharing. Donzo. Then do with their feedback what you wish - take it to heart and consider any changes you might need to make, or take a deep breath and let it go. Shake it off and have a dance party to let go of any lingering resentments. Move on and get back to business as usual.
Ok, now it’s your turn! Will you be using this strategy? And if you enjoyed this post and want to hear more on the regular from me, I’d love for you to subscribe to my email list! Once you do you’ll get one of my most popular shop downloads - How To Craft A Mission Statement For Your Studio, totally free!
Thanks for tuning in, and happy dancing, and happy teaching!