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How to improve interactions with your families who are considering other options

With so many educational options available for families, it’s never been more important for school districts to deliver superior customer service.

Constantly changing education policies. Divisive politics. The 24-7 media cycle. 

These are among the many factors that can negatively impact families’ perceptions and experiences with their school districts. 

Do you know how families truly feel about your school district? 

K12 Insight recently surveyed more than 2,800 parents of K-12 students around the country to find out what they think about the interactions with their school district. What we found was full of possibilities for the future of parent-school communication and engagement. 

If you haven’t had the chance to check out the report, I encourage you to take a look. And, once you have, you might have a few more ideas on how to better relate to your families which will increase satisfaction and keep your families enrolled in your district.

Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of school districts around the country. And here’s what I’ve learned about how to deliver experiences that satisfy parents and families:

1. Ensure equitable access — especially for the families who are hardest to reach.

I work with a school district where over half of the students come from homes where English is not the primary language spoken. Imagine how hard it can be for those parents to get answers to their questions. 

There are a lot of ways for parents to contact districts today — phone, email, social media, and more — but many stakeholders still face barriers to accessing support and services. Due to language differences, limited internet access, low literacy skills, or disabilities, some people are blocked from crucial information. 

I’m sure you can think of some specific families in your district for which this holds true. Ensuring every member of your community has equitable access to information and communications with their school district is essential.

2. Engage families through dialogue, not broadcasts. 

Parents want to have a conversation with you about what is best for their child — not hear what might work best for children in general. To deliver superior customer experiences, it’s so important to shift your internal practices to ensure your district is engaging stakeholders in two-way communications instead of outbound-only messaging.  

Empowering frontline district and school staff with strong customer service skills is imperative. We’ve found school districts that provide customer service professional development see an increase in customer satisfaction and a decrease in the average response time among participating frontline staff.

3. Measure and understand satisfaction — and make improvements where you fall short.  

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Consistently collecting data on customer satisfaction is crucial to district success. Rather than making decisions on anecdotes and gut feelings, track key metrics and insights to understand trending issues, district responsiveness, and customer satisfaction.

By understanding and acting on data, your district can improve customer satisfaction — which will positively impact enrollment and retention, employee satisfaction and attrition, and overall district success. 

To learn more about how your district can apply findings from the National Report on the Impact of Parent Satisfaction on School Districts in your district and improve school communication, request a consult.

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 November 17, 2022 Last updated May 28, 2024