When we began discussions about opening Elite, we had a dual perspective – First, we were Americans living in Slovakia. As such, we could clearly see the market was in desperate need for a school that put the needs of its students first. Slovakia in 2011, and to a lesser extent still today, lacked any sort of customer service mentality. Typically, consumers were told “no”, or were made to settle for less than they really wanted or needed. As American customers in Slovakia, we knew from experience how terrible an experience that was. This also applied to language schools here, which wanted student money, but offered little of value in exchange, frequently using teachers with little to no experience or motivation. We decided Elite would make sure that our students and corporate clients could have exactly what they wanted, and would provide the best possible teachers.
This leads to the second insight we had. The founders of Elite all worked as teachers in Bratislava before starting our own school, and we saw exactly how teachers were treated – placed in classes with little to no support, treated as disposable and paid pathetically low wages. We vowed that we would recruit the best teachers in the market, give them all the resources they required, and pay them commensurate with their skill and experience. As such, we knew we would have to spend more money on personnel, but we viewed it as a necessary business expense that would ensure our students’ satisfaction.
I am pleased to report that we were right on both counts, with many loyal and satisfied clients and teachers.