Customer service is an important part of any business, especially an English hagwon type business in Korea.
The thing with the hagwon industry is, you have two sets of customers, which are parents and students.
When you are teaching for a hagwon or school as an employee, you don’t have to worry about keeping students at your hagwon or school. If a student leaves or a parent is unhappy with your teaching or the school, it doesn’t really bother you that much. But if you are the owner of the school and a few students end up leaving, it could really affect you in various ways.
It’s easy for English teachers in Korea to complain about the way their schools are run, problem students, and demanding parents. But it’s a different story when you have to deal with these problems yourself. And it gets even more real when X amount of students equate to your monthly rent and ongoing expenses.
That’s why you need to really find ways to serve your customers/clients.
Now let’s see what things you need to consider regarding Customer Service:
Consulting or 상담 in Korean, refers to how you communicate what and how you teach at your English hagwon business in Korea. Basically, you are going to have parents who want to know about you and your school. And you will basically consult them on what is the best way for their child to learn English and why they should pay you money to send their children to you.
If you run your own English hagwon in Korea, you would know that parents come in and ask for a “상담”.
You can encounter a whole variety of parents. You may meet parents who are fluent in English, parents who don’t know any English, parents who know more about the hagwon industry better than you, and parents who just want to talk and hang out.
In the end, you will need to figure out what you will do when you encounter a parent who has questions about your school. You need to figure out what you will say, how to say it, and ways you’ll follow up with the parent. Once the parent ends up sending their children to your school, you will then have to keep ongoing consultations with parents when necessary.
Check out the “Creating a Parent Consultation System” section in the startup guide for more information.
Parents are probably the hardest part of the hagwon industy, but probably the most important part.
If you have no parents to deal with, then you will most likely have no students at your hagwon. There is no way around parents if you are going to start your own English hagwon type business in Korea. Unless of course your students are adults.
My Korean is fluent enough to keep a conversation going with parents and provide feedback about students. It isn’t as good as my wife’s Korean, but I have dealt with parents complaints enough to understand that it is much more stressful dealing with parents than it is dealing with students.
If you can’t speak any Korean, it will be challenging, but probably not impossible to run your very own hagwon business in Korea. However, having someone readily available to clearly communicate with your paying clients is always an advantage. Just don’t forget that dealing with the parents is the hardest part of the hagwon business, so make sure to truly appreciate the person/people doing this if you aren’t.
Over the years of finding ways to have parents trust me; I have learned a bunch of things to consider. You can check out the “What Parents Want” blog post and the “Your First Few Years as a Gyosoopso Owner” ebook or check out the “Parents” blog post categories for more information. Also, check out our video series for special tips.
As mentioned earlier, you have two sets of clients/customers, and students make up the second set. Though generally, parents are more difficult to please; you can have some hard students to deal with. And what the students think of you and your school will affect the parents decision to send or to keep sending their children to your English education business.
Understanding the students takes a lot of time and experience, which you most likely have. If you don’t have much experience dealing with students, then you will have to find good teachers that do. The tricky part with students is that they are usually children or adolescents, which means they most likely didn’t choose to go to your hagwon. So you may have to deal with kids who don’t even want to be there. And you will want to keep them if you don’t have enough students and have bills to pay.
Dealing with students will be a part of your job duties since you are most likely starting a small English hagwon type business in Korea. However, this is the section I believe you believe you may not need any assistance. But there are some things I have discovered while working with students as a teacher and a business owner. And you definitely have a different set of eyes as a business owner.
Administration could have gone under the business category, but I think it’s important to be organized, know what is going on in your business/school, and be in control, in order to provide good customer service.
Admin work can include keeping track of attendance, storing speaking answers onto a cloud server, emailing monthly report cards, and so on. There can be a lot of admin work at your hagwon business or not so much admin work. How much you need or want relies on your education philosophy, your end goal, your target market, and so many other factors.
But the most important thing with administration type work is figuring out what exactly it is you need to do. It is easy to do work for work sake, meaning, you may spend hours and hours creating a template for something that you don’t even need. I have created a bunch of simple templates that have helped me with operating my small English hagwon business in Seoul. You will be able to save yourself countless hours by referring to the information shared in the ebooks, startup guide, and the video series.
There is a lot of information to consider, so it is a good idea to download the hagwon startup checklists. There is one main checklist available for FREE to download and other ones that are accessible for premium members only. Visit our checklists page to access “checklists” that will help make your planning easier.