One-third of parents with children who attend K-12 public schools don’t know where to go when they have questions, comments, or concerns, according to a new report published by K12 Insight. And, parents and guardians who do not know where to go to get answers to their questions are highly likely to have a negative opinion about their school district.
“Imagine a school district with 30,000 students — that would mean approximately 10,000 parents would not know where to direct their questions and concerns,” said Krista Coleman Chief Customer Officer at K12 Insight. “In today’s highly competitive education environment, school districts need to make it as easy as possible for families to get answers, find information, and share feedback. This report provides valuable insights into what parents and guardians experience when they reach out to their school or district, and also recommendations for improving interactions at every touchpoint.”
K12 Insight’s National Report on Customer Service in Schools conveys what families expect from the customer service they receive from their school or district based on results from a survey of over 1,500 families nationwide. The report also examines the reasons parents reach out to their school or district and their ability to connect with the correct person to get a satisfactory answer to their issues or questions.
“Imagine a school district with 30,000 students — that would mean approximately 10,000 parents would not know where to direct their questions and concerns.” – Krista Coleman, Chief Customer Officer, K12 Insight
K12 Insight’s survey found when there was an increase in the number of times a parent contacted their district about academics or behavior, there was a decrease in the perceptions of the courteousness of the conversations they had. This means it’s essential for school districts to reduce the number of contacts needed for parents to get information or answers to their questions.
“We found many schools and districts don’t offer a clear and consistent way for parents to receive help,” said Kate Shoulders, Ph.D., Senior Director of Research at K12 Insight. “Additionally, when parents are reaching out to their school or district, the response they receive isn’t always perceived as courteous, which may lead parents to consider other educational options for their children. In the age of school choice, this is an important consideration for school leaders.”
K12 Insight’s survey also examined the Net Promoter Scores (NPS) parents gave their school or district. Of those parents who reported a lack of clarity about where to direct their inquiries, approximately two-thirds of them were characterized as Detractors or Passives by NPS. This means if questions and concerns go unanswered — or if there is a delay in response time — there could be lowered perceptions of a district’s ability to provide excellent customer service.
“As more digital natives become parents of school-age children in the coming years, it will be essential for school districts to embrace digital tools to meet families where they are.” – Krista Coleman, Chief Customer Officer, K12 Insight
Fortunately, the survey results revealed a solution for schools and districts to improve their customer service. When asked about preferences for automated responses from their school or district, 43% of families indicated they are open to receiving automated responses to their questions or concerns for topics such as accessing student grades, inquiries related to transportation, school openings/closings, and more.
“As more digital natives become parents of school-age children in the coming years, it will be essential for school districts to embrace digital tools to meet families where they are,” Coleman said. “We find it encouraging that more families are becoming open to automation — which means tools like AI-powered chatbots and self-service options will help school districts deliver accurate information quickly.”
For a deeper dive into the report’s findings, read the full report or watch the recording of K12 Insight’s webinar “Why Your District’s Families Are Frustrated With Your Customer Service.” Each quarter, K12 Insight publishes a report with insights and trends education leaders can use to inform their customer service and communications strategies. To read the previous national reports by K12 Insight, visit k12insight.com/cx-reports.