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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.

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:

The phases of customer service in schools

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.

Learn more about reactive customer service

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.

Learn more about tactical customer service

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.

Learn more about strategic customer service

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.

Learn more about customer-centric customer service

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: 

Superior customer service, delivered districtwide



See how your school district is doing.

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Let's Talk! 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.