“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”
Mark Twain wasn’t talking about K-12 education when he wrote this famous quote, but the sentiment certainly applies to today’s schools.
Our first-ever national State of K-12 Customer Experience Report revealed that more than three-quarters of participating school leaders said providing high-quality customer service for all stakeholders was very important to their mission. But, less than half (45 percent) of those leaders felt confident in their ability to provide that level of service.
For many school leaders, the challenge in creating an exceptional customer experience for their stakeholders is knowing where to start.
The checklist below highlights key standards to focus on when building a strong customer service culture in your district. Think of these standards–which were developed by The School District of Osceola County in Florida–as a foundation for creating an exceptional customer experience in your district.
Focus on courtesy and respect
- Treat all customers with respect and dignity.
- Be courteous and helpful during all customer interactions.
- Maintain the customer’s confidentiality and privacy.
- Communicate in a friendly and professional manner.
Provide timely communication
- Acknowledge and greet customers immediately upon their entrance into district schools or facilities.
- Answer the school telephone using staff (not machines) during school hours.
- Answer the telephone within three rings if possible, and in a friendly and helpful manner.
- Use a standard, consistent greeting when answering the phone.
- Ensure information provided to customers is accurate and consistent, even if it requires a call back or an email follow-up.
- Update all communications regularly to ensure accurate information is being provided.
- Respond to all communication in a prompt, polite, and professional fashion, including the proofreading of messages and use of discretion when forwarding emails.
- Assume the responsibility for assisting or directing all customers to the appropriate person or department.
- Return phone calls and respond to email messages and written requests within 24-hours.
- Provide a bilingual staff member when needed.
Cultivate a customer service environment
- Create an inviting, family-friendly environment in all district schools, departments, and facilities.
- Wear identification badges at all times, and be professionally dressed in appropriate attire for the job.
- Provide signage at all district schools and facilities that is welcoming and clearly directs visitors to the main office.
- Post office hours.
For a printable version of this checklist and a more in-depth look at our national data, download the full State of K-12 Customer Experience Report.