Losing just five students can cause a budget shortage equivalent to one full-time teacher’s salary.
But here’s the thing: Students don’t pull themselves out of schools — their parents do. And research shows the top five reasons parents give for exercising school choice have nothing to do with teaching and learning, but rather the experience they have with their district.
School districts nationwide are catching on to the power of intentional, districtwide customer service. And K12 Insight is at the forefront of the movement, offering the only all-in-one customer service and intelligence platform built for education.
What is school customer service?
School customer service is 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.
How does school customer service impact student outcomes?
A district’s climate is impacted by many things — academic success, interpersonal relationships, safety, leadership structure, and the physical environment. Concerns with any one of these can lead to student attrition, failed bond proposals, low academic achievement, or negative district perceptions.
Solving each dimension individually will yield mediocre results, but there is one thing that, if improved, has the power to transform all of them: customer service.
By intentionally transforming customer service delivery districtwide, you’ll begin to see positive improvements in every facet of your district’s operation, including:
- Improved school climate
- Increased family and community engagement
- Generated public support for key initiatives
- A positive school environment
When students feel supported and valued by their school community, they are more likely to succeed academically.
The four phases of school customer service.
K12 Insight has worked with hundreds of school districts around the country to find out what superior customer service looks like in K-12. We’ve found that the journey of customer service in schools is broken up into four phases:
Reactive customer service
In this phase, staff are unaware of how daily interactions with customers influence district success. Communications are siloed, there are no customer service metrics, and parents are dissatisfied.
Tactical customer service
Tactical customer service is characterized by: A vision for districtwide customer service; specific customer service training for key staff; customer service data that is evaluated but not aggregated for insights.
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.
Customer-centric customer service
In this phase, customer service is recognized as a districtwide core value. Customer service is simple, swift, and reliable. Customer service metrics are used as a single source of truth, and parents are satisfied.
How to improve your district’s customer service and achieve better student outcomes
Studies have shown that improving customer service in your school district will boost student achievement, create a positive school climate, and build trust with families.
Improving customer service takes realistic, expertise-driven systemic thinking and true prioritization. It’s only successful through comprehensive, districtwide culture change management.
We’ve been helping districts reinvent their customer service for over a decade. Here’s where we recommend starting:
- Implement a customer service strategy. This should include clear goals, objectives, and metrics for success that are defined in your strategic plan.
- Use technology to streamline communication, automate workflows, and improve efficiency. Automate common district processes — including enrollment, facilities requests, bussing, and student safety — and log every interaction in a central location for visibility and reporting. To make things even easier, implement automatic routing to the correct department for quick responses.
- Collect and analyze customer feedback. Eliminate the noise and drive your decisions with data. Feedback from your community can game-change the way business is done in your district, from identifying successes to ensuring the right concerns are prioritized.
- Provide customer service training to all staff. This training should cover topics like communication skills, customer-centric conflict resolution, and tips for providing excellent service with every interaction.
Superior customer service, delivered districtwide
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