The Power of Customer Service in Schools: The Key to Student Success

The K-12 landscape is competitive, making customer service more important than ever. Parents have choices, and they’re looking for schools that offer a positive experience. In fact, customer service is the number one reason parents cite for exercising school choice.

Public schools can reverse the decline [of school closures and staff position eliminations] and revitalize themselves by embracing customer focus, according to a study of more than 10,644 K-12 parents by researchers from Rice University and the University of Texas at San Antonio.” says Avery Ruxer Franklin, media relations specialist at Rice University.

This research aligns with primary research published by K12 Insight in its quarterly National Report on Customer Service series since 2022.

For years, we’ve been building solutions to allow districts to deliver superior customer service. Today, over 500 school districts nationwide use our innovative customer service solutions to elevate their brands, build trust, and eliminate reactive leadership in favor of data-driven decision-making.

Since 2002, K12 Insight has led the way in revolutionizing the K-12 landscape and its digital transformation by providing customer service and intelligence solutions. And it’s all because we have a passion for K-12 education.

Scroll through this page to discover how improving customer service will positively affect your school district.

What is school customer service?

School customer service is an intentional, data-driven approach to two-way communications that allows customers to ask questions and share feedback while having the confidence that their question, concern, or comment is getting to the right person in the right department.

How does school customer service impact student outcomes?

By intentionally transforming customer service delivery districtwide, you’ll see positive changes in every facet of your district’s operations. And when students feel supported and valued by their school community, they are more likely to succeed academically.

Districts that have placed importance on customer service have seen improvements in areas like:

•  Family and community engagement

•  Public support for key initiatives, like tax referendums

•  Internal and external operations and workflows 

•  School climate

How does generative AI play a role ?

We’ve all heard about how generative AI will transform education. We don’t think you should have to wait. 

Generative AI already powers our 24/7 chatbot, which delivers comprehensive and accurate responses based on your district’s data with no chance of hallucinations. Our customer experience and intelligence platform, Let’s Talk, uses keyword automation to direct inquiries to the right person or department. Plus the platform offers automated workflows to streamline stakeholder conversations and escalate time-sensitive situations.

How can you tell whether you’re delivering good customer service?

Every K-12 school district falls into one of the four categories described below. Check them out, then scroll further to find out exactly where you land, plus access resources that will take you to the next level. 

Phase 1

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.

Phase 2

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.

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.

Phase 4

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.

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.

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.

See how your school district is doing.

Take our quiz to see how your school district’s customer service compares to others.

Superior customer service, delivered districtwide

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Schedule a consultation with one of our school customer service experts to learn how your district can execute a customer service strategy with major ROI.