If there’s one thing school communications leaders and their teams don’t have much of it’s time.
Responding to parent and student questions. Planning events and important announcements. Fielding press inquiries. The daily responsibilities of a school communications team are many–and that doesn’t account for the unforeseen crises that crop up without warning.
In conversations with dozens of school communications leaders over the previous three months, one universal truth has emerged: When it comes to PR, success is dependent upon your team’s ability to be proactive instead of reactive.
Rather than spring to action in the wake of crises, communications leaders say schools need to listen to what’s being said in their communities–in the press, on social media, or in their local neighborhood grocery stores–and work to identify and isolate potential PR issues before they spiral into crises. That means actively inviting feedback from community members ahead of key decisions and responding to inevitable questions in a timely way. It also means tracking and measuring the quality and impact of those responses over time.
Taken together, each of these improvements creates a better customer experience, and eliminates distractions that detract from a school system’s ability to deliver a quality education.
Ad-hoc is not the answer
The problem with school communications, though, is that it’s almost never seamless. A patchwork of uneven tools and inputs, from voicemail to social media, to email, make it easy for messages to slip through the cracks. The result can have a devastating effect on your district’s ability to respond when it matters most.
Enter Let’s Talk!, from K12 Insight.
Accessible via a tab or button on the school district website, or via mobile app, Let’s Talk! enables parents, students, staff, and others to engage with district leaders around important issues when it makes sense for them.
Whether the feedback comes in via email, the school district website, social media, or over the phone, a universal inbox feature ensures that every message is logged and immediately routed to the right person or team of people in the school to issue a timely response.
On the backend, district leaders get a dashboard featuring key metrics, such as number of inquiries received, average response times, recurring themes, and an average customer feedback score.
School communications leaders say the result is better two-way engagement, stronger collaboration between communications and school staff, and a clearer overall picture of effective school customer service, all with efficiency in mind.
Here’s a couple of useful features that school communications leaders highlighted when talking with us.
- One message for many. A bulk editor means communications staff can craft one message and send it to multiple recipients. This represents an effective way to control the message, while saving precious time.
- Responses at the ready. Certain questions–weather and testing topics, for example–occur every year. Let’s Talk! helps you anticipate those questions and draft an easy-to-use response. The result is more consistent messaging, done faster.
Here’s what a few of our school district leaders have said about the time-saving power of Let’s Talk!.
Gwyn Touchet, executive director of human resources, Fort Bend ISD, Texas
“The amount of time we spend chasing and putting out fires has diminished, and we’re no longer working ineffectively. Let’s Talk! enables us to bank that time and focus more on what we need to do to reach the next level.”
Mary Nash-Wood, director of communications, Caddo Parish Public Schools, Louisiana
“Parents have fully embraced Let’s Talk! and reach out consistently. They love how quickly they receive a response and the professionalism of it, and they’re telling their friends. It’s become a grocery store conversation in the aisle to say, ‘Hey, you have that issue. Why don’t you use Let’s Talk! on the district’s website? You’ll get an answer in a couple of hours.”
Dr. Shannon Miller, director of special projects, Fontana Unified School District, California
“We’re in a mobile world, and lots of times that means being on the phone or having that access. The Let’s Talk! app helps our parents get our immediate attention and helps us address their concerns in a timely manner.”
DeWayne Porter, senior director of transportation, Richmond County School System, Georgia
“Let’s Talk! has allowed me the freedom to do the other things that I really need to be doing. And, the content experts in my department–the problem solvers–are getting the messages that they need to deal with directly.”
Want to experience the potential time-saving power of Let’s Talk! for yourself? Sign up for a free consult here, or contact your strategic account executive.