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Customize Your Language Courses

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Confidence in the Classroom

Customization has become a mantra among many marketers, as customization provides one means for businesses to more effectively meet the specific needs and wants of their customers. And this proves ever more important in the language learning industry too. Gone should be the assembly line approach, where every student receives the same content and instruction. Instead, schools must assess the strengths, weaknesses, and needs of the students; organize course content that matches needs and goals; and personalize the lesson instead of blindly following textbooks.

From the buyer's point of view, customization proves important because an increasing number of customers expect some degree of tailoring. And again, this proves no different in the field of language learning, with the myriad of choices available. Many schools offer traditional, face-to-face lessons, online lessons, self-study materials that support course content, and expert counseling and advice to troubleshoot a student's questions and concerns, just to name a few options. Failure to provide a range of choices may equate to less value perceived by the students.

As for the seller, customization proves important because a premium can be charged for the service; not only is the perceived value increased, but the dialogue between buyer and seller moves away from the course price to the benefits he/she will receive. In addition, with the Internet able to offer a relatively inexpensive means to reach customers, as well as a widened array of available choices, businesses can further improve profit margins via more customized content. Businesses that don't offer some degree of customization find one less means to ward off competition and meet long-term success.

However, it should be understood that customers cannot always specify their precise preferences, and this can be problematic. In other words, students may have no awareness of their preferences, may not be able to adequately state their preferences, or may not be engaged with the service being offered.

And yet, students have raised expectations, and which then creates another problem stemming from customization. When students expect more, a greater propensity for dissatisfaction also exists; this proves especially true when customers cannot clearly state their needs and wants, yet they still anticipate a product that perfectly meets their vision.

Regardless of the possible concerns that customers cannot clearly state their preferences, schools should not shy away from more customized content. In addition to what has been stated, customers have the potential to become more satisfied with the service, and thereby also more engaged. With engagement and satisfaction, students also become advocates and provide word-of-mouth referrals. These days, prospective customers expect to learn about services from their peers, and as such, advocates prove important to any business.

And from a business's point of view, customization allows for a greater exchange of information between the buyer and seller. This generates added data for CRM systems, and allows for the further refinement of customized options already on offer. New products may even be developed and offered based on the feedback.

With increased competition and smaller margins for profit, both large and small schools must better know their customers and provide the right mix of customized services. Even individual teachers who work from home and organize their own lessons should better know the students that will be reached to provide unique experiences.

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