What “improving communications” really means
Nearly every superintendent has been asked “What will you do to improve communications?” Oftentimes, the question comes hand-in-hand with a related standard on a superintendent evaluation.
As educational leaders, we understand that communications is a journey without a final destination. And while we may craft eloquent messages, their impact can be dependent on the readiness of our audience.
That’s why it is imperative to continuously re-emphasize and retell important information throughout our districts, from the campus level to the PTA. The verticality of communications and its momentum throughout the organization are crucial drivers of success.
When we say “communications access” and talk about information being readily available to every family in our community, what we’re really talking about is “customer service.”
In K-12 schools, customer service is an intentional, data-driven approach to two-way communications that gives educational partners the ability to ask questions and share feedback while having the confidence their question, concern, or comment is getting to the right person in the right department.
Using technology to our advantage on the journey to improve customer service in public schools
Strong, streamlined backend workflows and clear, open communications access partner to create an ideal environment for better inbound and outbound communications districtwide.
Because even the healthiest organizations face challenges in delivering superior customer service, every school district can benefit from tracking the data and metrics that measure customer service success.
Many school districts are establishing formalized metrics around communications and customer service in their strategic plans. Here are a few ready-to-use KPIs I’ve seen work well:
- Improve educational partners’ satisfaction with district- and site-level communications
- Improve the percentage of parents who would recommend their child’s school to a family member or friend
- Increase the number of families who participate in school events or activities, engage in districtwide decision-making, and utilize learning management or student information systems
- Utilize a districtwide platform for two-way communications that allows parents to ask questions, get information, and give feedback
Remember: While analytics offer valuable insights that can game change decision-making, it is essential to balance them with our instincts and trust the nuance. This hybrid between metrics and “gut-checking” honors both the value of data and the reasons we were hired as educational leaders.
Measuring customer service programs in K-12 schools
Our journey in communications and customer service is one of continuous improvement. We are all striving to create well-connected, informed, and engaged educational communities.
Technology is always advancing and “perfect” communications may be elusive, but leveraging innovative tools like K12 Insight’s Let’s Talk can make the process more manageable.
A successful customer service plan can be measured using metrics like average response time, customer experience (Cx) score, and reactions to trending topics.
But it can also be evaluated by the feelings and experiences — the culture — surrounding your district. A healthy organization with excellent customer service will see fewer complaints during the public comments section of board meetings, fewer crises erupting on social media or online, more families staying with the district from kindergarten through graduation, and improved teaching and learning.
Districts with infrequent customer service-related setbacks have more time to focus on what really matters: Student success.
If you’re ready to start the journey to delivering superior customer service, register for a free, no-obligation workshop with one of K12 Insight’s experts. These workshops are available to anyone on your team, can be in-person or virtual, and are entirely free-of-charge. Here’s the link to sign up.