Now more than ever, parents have choices — and high expectations — for their child’s K-12 education.
However, many school districts aren’t meeting those expectations. Over 60% of parents say there is room for improvement with the helpfulness, timeliness, and courteousness of the customer service they receive from their school district.
The districts that maintain enrollment and attract new students have taken customer service from a bullet point in their strategic plan to a districtwide core value. Here are four lessons from school districts around the nation that have successfully implemented customer service districtwide and seen positive results:
1. Equip frontline staff with customer service skills.
From the interactions with bus drivers to front office staff, every touchpoint is an opportunity to provide superior customer service.
Corpus Christi Independent School District (CCISD), located in southeast Texas on the Gulf Coast, knows every interaction counts and has made providing customer service a top priority districtwide.
With so many competing districts and alternative education options, having an established strategy for customer service can set school communities apart. For CCISD, equipping its frontline staff with customer service training was the first step in ensuring high-quality service for every stakeholder.
“It’s so important to ensure your staff is ready to welcome everyone they encounter,” said Leanne Libby, APR, Chief Communications Officer at Corpus Christi ISD. “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.”
2. Provide a unified inbox for all inbound communications.
School districts with 10,000 students may receive as many as 26,000 interactions districtwide in a given school year. That means parents, students, staff, and community members are calling or emailing their school or district office — and overwhelming inboxes with questions and concerns.
Before adopting Let’s Talk, Palo Alto Unified School District in California had over 300 shared email inboxes. Email had become a black hole for the district, which made it really difficult for staff to stay on top of communications and ensure customers received the answers they needed.
Once Let’s Talk was implemented, the district was able to streamline inbound communications so every inquiry — including phone calls, emails, and social media messages — is delivered to one inbox. This resulted in Palo Alto USD now guaranteeing a response time of 48 hours or less and increasing satisfaction among district stakeholders.
3. Stay competitive with real-time chatbot support.
School districts everywhere are facing fierce competition from neighboring districts, private and charter schools, virtual options, and homeschooling — making it critical they provide high-quality customer service that meets families where they are.
Located in northeast Indiana — and in one of the most competitive education markets in the nation — Fort Wayne Community Schools has maintained steady enrollment, largely due to the district’s high standard for customer service.
As part of the district’s customer service strategy, FWCS launched Let’s Talk Assistant — an AI-powered, always-on chatbot designed for K-12 schools — to provide families with answers to frequently asked questions when they need them. Stakeholders can access the chatbot 24/7 from any smartphone, tablet, or computer, in English or Spanish.
“There’s no dollar amount on what engagement from families really means,” said Krista Stockman, Public Information Officer at FWCS. “Let’s Talk and Let’s Talk Assistant have been powerful tools to facilitate meaningful conversations with our community.”
4. Support multilingual learners and their families.
Providence Public School District based in Providence, Rhode Island, has made equitable communications access a priority districtwide. With over half of its students coming from homes where English is not the primary language spoken, supporting multilingual learners and their families is essential.
Let’s Talk helps school districts like PPSD be more inclusive to families by providing translation tools for a broad variety of languages. PPSD provides Let’s Talk translation Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Khmer, and Swahili.
“Let’s Talk helps us manage multilingual communications, demonstrate cultural competency, and meet the needs of our diverse community,” said Jennifer Efflandt, Executive Director of Multilingual Learners at PPSD. “I appreciate that we were able to work with K12 Insight to incorporate our major languages into the platform. The translation feature helps us support and accommodate our families who are not English speakers so they can get the information they need.”
Superior customer service, delivered districtwide
In today’s competitive education environment, adopting a customer service mindset is critical. To attract new families and keep current families enrolled and satisfied, school districts need to deliver superior customer service in addition to an excellent education.
Join the hundreds of school and district administrators around the country who are making customer service a top priority in their strategic plans by requesting a free customer service workshop.
If you have already implemented Let’s Talk in your district, contact your Client Success Manager to plan strategic customer service professional development and training.