The first step is asking yourself how much you already spend on customer service.
Every time someone in your district answers the phone but can’t resolve an inquiry — that’s money spent. Every time a parent blind copies five departments on the same email to see which answers they’ll get back — more money spent. Those hours-long quests to track down the right person to respond to a question? Money spent.
The fact is outdated or over-complicated workflows waste staff time (and money). And when parents or teachers aren’t satisfied with the customer service they’re getting, they’ll find another district — costing you hundreds of thousands in churn and attrition-related problems.
Viewing customer service as a transformative force that touches every aspect of your school district
This revolution is not just about communications or PR; it’s not limited to IT ticketing or your central office team. It’s an all-encompassing initiative that should resonate at every campus and be exemplified by every school employee. The objective? To ensure that parents receive the same high level of customer service from every department, classroom, and touchpoint.
Fostering a culture of superior service, where “how people treat people” lies at the core, requires buy-in from every level and department — so it has to start at the very top.
Successful customer service strategies are implemented by superintendents or deputy superintendents. Disjointed efforts yield minimal results. The process only works when leadership commits to embracing change wholeheartedly.
Budgeting beyond department allocations
In the same way process changes are cross-departmental, the funding for a customer service change takes a bigger budget than one typically reserved for a single branch, like communications or IT.
Customer service is a discipline in and of itself. And a true transformation requires a financial investment. Here are several strategies to fund this initiative effectively:
Displace your old tech stack
Replace tools that lack comprehensive, districtwide scope with an enterprise-wide platform — one that brings new, streamlined functionality to every department (from enrollment and HR FAQs to transportation and IT ticketing). Eliminate back-end confusion and response duplication, save time so staff can focus on more nuanced requests, and manage internal and external communications under one roof.
Focus on ROI statistics
Make a compelling case for investing in customer service to your board. Back your proposal with ROI statistics, like lower average response times, increased customer experience scores, automated workflows, AI-powered chatbot technology that answers 70% of incoming questions each year, and more. Prove the benefits of this transformation far outweigh the investment.
Streamline the purchasing process and bypass the traditional RFP route. Collaborate with partners like OMNIA through cooperative contracts to simplify and expedite the procurement process.
Understanding customer service ROI
A well-planned customer service program reduces the number of times you have to address an issue and streamlines workflows and communications practices. The time savings alone would make the effort worthwhile!
But a customer service platform that tracks trending topics, offers sentiment analysis, and monitors the number of inquiries on a specific subject can shape your district’s actions (and reactions) in a revolutionary way.
How many times has your leadership team taken on an initiative or hot-ticket project because the loudest voices in the room told you it was the number one concern? What if you had data to prove only 12% of parents were actually worried? Would you still have created the task force?
If you’re only relying on anecdotal data from the public comments section of your board meetings, a dive into customer service metrics could change every element of your district’s budget and operations.
Superior customer service is no longer a luxury — it’s a necessity. By embracing a districtwide approach spearheaded by committed leadership and utilizing innovative funding strategies, your district can embark on a transformative journey that will benefit students, parents, and the entire community.
The first step is analyzing the current state of customer service in your school district. We’ve put together a quick, five-question quiz to help you identify what stage of the journey you’re in. Take the quiz to find out where you should go next.