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3 ways customer service is affecting your school district

Customer service is helping school districts nationwide build trust and create positive experiences that lead to satisfied families and increased engagement — both internally and externally.
3 mins

Why is customer service important in education? 

Adopting a culture of customer service has had a transformational impact on school districts across the nation. By leveraging customer service, hundreds of district leaders have: 

  • Reduced staff and student attrition by ensuring a positive experience districtwide  
  • Managed district and community politics by cutting through the noise with clear, comprehensive data on their community’s opinions — instead of making anecdote-driven decisions 
  • Budgeted for the post-ESSER era with tools that have saved hundreds of staff hours and streamlined internal processes 
  • Improved relationships with school board members

Here’s a deep dive on how school district leaders have worked to solve three major K-12 issues using customer service:

Navigate the school choice era

Keeping families in a competitive school choice environment

School districts around the country face fierce competition from neighboring school districts, virtual schools, private and charter schools, and homeschooling.

Parents have high expectations for the customer service they receive from their school or district — and a lot of other options if those expectations aren’t met. 

Fort Wayne Community Schools in Indiana, located in one of the most competitive education markets in the nation, has found customer service to be critical to its success. 

“With the highly competitive market in Indiana, we need to provide excellent customer service and be responsive to parents, otherwise families will walk away,” said Krista Stockman, Public Information Officer at Fort Wayne Community Schools.

Listening and providing superior experiences for families can often keep parents from pursuing alternative options.

“The customer service we offer makes parents feel more committed to us. They recognize that we care about their concerns,” Stockman said.

Make enrollment easy for your community

Simplifying enrollment

The back-to-school season is a busy time of year, and many districts bring on extra support staff to handle the influx of incoming questions from families. But streamlined customer service processes can help you manage the overload without additional staff.

Corpus Christi Independent School District in Texas has implemented a districtwide approach to customer service ensuring frontline staff — especially those who handle the majority of enrollment inquiries — are equipped with the skills needed to provide superior experiences to every family.

“When frontline staff have all the tools they need to start establishing relationships and maintaining trust, your district community stays strong — and it’s more likely those families will establish lasting ties to the school and district,” said Leanne Libby, APR, Chief Communications Officer at Corpus Christi ISD. 

Additionally, Corpus Christi ISD has used texting and other customer service approaches to enrollment to handle the influx of inquiries.

Build trust and gain support

Building community buy-in for rezoning efforts

Getting stakeholder buy-in on crucial decisions like bond proposals, levies, and rezoning efforts requires time, listening, and proactive communication.

Implementing an intentional approach for customer service gives every stakeholder a voice and makes it easy to gather valuable feedback. 

Flagler Schools in Florida set a goal to offer a place where families could ask questions and provide feedback 24/7 about the rezoning process happening in their district — especially during and after community listening sessions. 

“As we entered the 2021-2022 school year, my team and I knew rezoning was inevitable in 2022-2023,” said Jason Wheeler, Coordinator of Communications at Flagler Schools. “Collectively, we realized this project would require open, consistent communication between the district and our community for it to be a success.”

Take the quiz to find out how you rank on customer service

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Krista Coleman
By Krista Coleman
Krista Coleman is K12 Insight’s chief customer officer. She’s dedicated to helping K-12 school districts across the United States provide superior customer experiences to families, teachers, staff, and other stakeholders.
Originally published June 27, 2023 Last updated August 3, 2023