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Overwhelmed with inquiries? Here’s how to free up your staff.

When families, teachers, staff, and others reach out, they expect a timely response. 

But that’s not always easy when you have hundreds (or even thousands) of communications coming at you from multiple channels: phone, email, text message, and social media — to name a few. 

Not to mention that, on average, school districts are seeing triple the volume of inbound communications — which can take a toll on already overwhelmed staff. 

What follows are four strategies for driving staff productivity — especially during an influx of inbound communications. In each case, we’ve offered a potential solution for using Let’s Talk!, K12 Insight’s online customer service solution to illustrate how it can be done. 

 

1. Answer questions before they’re asked

If you’re seeing a large number of inquiries coming through, it’s likely there are recurring questions or themes. Compiling, answering, and publishing an FAQ document enables community members to get quick answers to common questions without having to reach out — keeping common questions off staff members’ plates. 

5 steps to develop a strong FAQ document ahead of back-to-school

Make sure it’s easy for community members to find answers to these questions by linking them in logical, high-traffic areas on your school and district websites. 

For school districts using Let’s Talk!, we recommend including links to FAQs on relevant landing pages and/or interest area form messages — like Texas’s Austin ISD does. 

2. Create customizable response templates

Save your team time — and ensure a consistent district message — by developing response templates. Start with the topics you get asked about most frequently, such as COVID-19 safety protocols or face masks, and build out from there. 

If you have a system like Let’s Talk!, you can save these templates in the platform and make them available to just you, specific teams, or the entire district. 

These templates serve as a strong starting point when fielding corresponding questions or concerns — helping staff reclaim time while ensuring accurate information. 

3. Increase internal accountability

Few things are more frustrating than reaching out with a pressing question or concern and never hearing back. But when staff is overwhelmed and flooded with inquiries from various channels, it can be hard for schools, departments, and districts to ensure every person who reaches out actually receives a timely response. 

Districts that use Let’s Talk! get access to a real-time dashboard that equips administrators with key metrics (including number of inquiries, average response time, and customer satisfaction score) and other insights to help you continually improve the customer experience. 

 

4. Leverage automation — while maintaining a human touch

Research shows that up to 80 percent of questions can be answered by chatbots — freeing up staff to respond to more personalized or nuanced questions. 

But school districts need more than just another chatbot, which is why we made ours different. 

Let’s Talk! Assistant, the first chatbot designed specifically for K-12 school districts, gives families and other community members a fast, easy way to get answers with 24/7 automated customer service from any device. The chatbot’s new Spanish feature allows users to toggle seamlessly between languages so they can communicate comfortably. 

“Let’s Talk! Assistant is as efficient for us as it is for families. It gives parents an intuitive way to ask questions whenever their schedules allow — even if it’s after hours — and get an immediate, precise response. That frees up our staff to attend to other responsibilities, including high-touch customer interactions.”  — Krista Stockman, Public Information Officer, Fort Wayne Community Schools.

 

Want to see how five school districts are using Let’s Talk! to increase staff productivity and successfully manage an influx of dialogues? Get your free copy of our latest whitepaper.

About the Author

Kyle Freelander
Kyle Freelander is the Director of Marketing Communications at K12 Insight.

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