How to develop a customer-centric district culture
Customer service isn’t a switch districts can turn “on” or “off.” It’s a comprehensive culture shift that moves throughout a district — department by department and campus by campus.
Let’s start by understanding the four phases of customer service and how districts have managed to move through each phase until they eventually reach the “gold standard” — a fully customer-centric model that follows an intentional plan at every touchpoint.
Customer service for K-12 is defined as an intentional, data-driven approach to two-way communications that gives customers 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.
The benefits of a districtwide customer service strategy
Phase 1: Reactive customer service
Reactive customer service is characterized by:
- Staff who are unaware of how daily interactions with customers influence district success
- Siloed communications
- A lack of customer service metrics
- Dissatisfied parents
In this stage, there is usually a consensus among district leadership that the current state of operations is unsustainable and significant change is required.
Phase 2: Tactical customer service
Tactical customer service is characterized by:
- A vision for districtwide customer service
- Specific customer service training for key staff members
- Customer service data that is evaluated but not aggregated for deeper insights
In this phase, districts have developed a baseline for key service processes and begun to insert them into day-to-day workflows.
Districts will begin to see improvements in bidirectional communications, average response time, and saved staff time.
Phase 3: Strategic customer service
Strategic customer service is characterized by:
- A customer service vision that is communicated districtwide
- Specific customer service training on processes and best practices for all frontline staff
- Consistently captured customer service metrics
In phase three, districts are seeing transformational benefits, including:
- The ability to report on customer service data
- The provision of equitable communications access to their entire community
- Hundreds of saved staff hours
- Improved backend workflows that simplify and accelerate the communications process
Phase 4: Customer-centric service
Customer-centric service is characterized by:
- The recognition of customer service as a districtwide core value
- Simple, swift, and reliable customer service
- The use of customer service metrics as a single source of truth
- Satisfied parents
In this final, ongoing phase of customer service delivery, districts are able to easily:
- Save staff time
- Offer quick, accurate bidirectional communication
- Ensure equitable access to every family in their community
- Report on customer service data and metrics
- Use data-driven insights to make well-received decisions
- Secure against malware and cyber attacks
- Provide intelligence
- Operate off of a single source of districtwide truth
When districts reach this “gold standard” of customer-centric service, their goal becomes continued success and the adoption of technological advancements.
As AI-powered chatbot technology, data analytics, and sentiment monitoring continue to improve, so will their respective abilities to positively alter the personalization and ease of customer service delivery.