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Supercharge your team’s customer service skills

Maya Angelou put it best when she said, “…people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

She wasn’t talking about school districts when she said that, but—when I think about all of the parents, students, teachers, and others reaching out to your district with questions and concerns—I can’t imagine a more critical point for staff to keep in mind.

People (your customers) will remember how you made them feel—especially now, putting “soft skills” (or what I like to call essential skills) like empathy, flexibility, compassion, and kindness at a premium. 

With no shortage of priorities for school leaders as they navigate the various challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be tempting to back-burner improving customer service. But if there’s one message I hope to get across to you here it’s this: Excellent customer service is no longer just a nice-to-have—it’s a critical component of successful schools. 

Below I’ve outlined 3 key reasons you should be focusing on customer service right now, along with guidance for how to do that.

  1. Staff members aren’t inherently equipped to deliver exceptional service (especially amid this new landscape).
    Oftentimes, school leaders don’t immediately notice knowledge gaps when it comes to soft skills like the ones necessary for providing exceptional customer service—and I would caution you against assuming anything about your team’s expertise when it comes to something this critical.

    Here’s why: Not all customer service skills come naturally. And skills that are present in one person may not be as developed in another on your team. Not to mention, you risk everyone operating off different understandings of customer service and the expectations your district has for it.Even teams who were well-equipped to deliver high-quality customer service in person may not have had the formal training and practice to successfully transfer those skills to the virtual setting and truly supercharge them.

    Getting your team on the same page with customer service now not only ensures you are all working toward the same goal but also empowers them to confidently (and consistently) deliver customer service that truly meets the evolving needs of your customers.

  2. Interactions are happening more frequently—across many channels.
    You don’t need me to tell you that school districts across the nation have been facing an unprecedented volume of inbound communications since the start of the pandemic from seemingly every channel. I’m sure your team is experiencing it.

    This is understandably overwhelming—even crippling—for many districts, but I’m a silver-lining type of person so I can’t help but point out how great it is that your community is reaching out and engaging with you (even if it doesn’t always feel that way). Each interaction is an opportunity to build trust and create an experience that’s memorable for all the right reasons.You don’t want to leave any of these interactions to chance. By building up your team’s soft skills now and allowing them room to successfully practice and improve, you equip them with the knowledge and experience they need to meet customers where they are and prove to them that they are a valued part of your school community.

  3. Increasingly, conversations are emotionally charged.
    These are tense times. Whether you see it or not, anxiety and frustration are at an all-time high—among your customers and staff responding to them. More often than not, that leads to emotionally charged conversations that are quick to escalate.

    These conversations can be difficult for staff to navigate, even for the best customer service teams. And, contrary to some wide-spread advice, the customer isn’t always right. By learning how to walk in your customer’s shoes and understand their unique problems and needs (especially ones that aren’t explicitly stated)—staff can keep the temperature down on conversations and reach a positive resolution faster.

Introducing our virtual customer service workshops

Supercharging your team’s customer service skills starts with intentional training. Our virtual customer service workshops (designed specifically for K-12 teachers, staff, and administrators) give teams the expert guidance and practice they need to supercharge critical customer service skills and improve the school experience. 

Each interactive course focuses on one key skill (like empathy or building rapport), providing your team with the resources and practice needed to make every interaction with stakeholders memorable for all the right reasons. 

Ready to supercharge your team’s customer service skills? Sign up for a no-obligation consultation to discuss your needs and learn more about our virtual workshops.

About the Author

Dr. Christine Wells
Dr. Christine Wells, NBCT, spent 16 years in K-12 schools as a teacher, instructional coach, building principal, and director for teaching and learning. She currently serves as Senior Director of Professional Learning and Research at K12 Insight.

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