When you hear the term “customer service,” you probably think of your interactions with a business. We, at K12 Insight, believe customer service isn’t just for businesses — it’s a mindset schools can adopt, too.
Ed tech, school choice, remote learning, and the impacts of COVID-19 are redefining how K-12 administrators approach their work. It’s clear great academic programs — while critical to student success — aren’t enough to keep students and parents engaged and enrolled.
Customer service in schools is about listening to your stakeholders and creating a community where students, parents, families, staff, and teachers feel heard.
If you’re curious about the benefits of customer service, here are three reasons to incorporate this mindset into your district.
1. Competition is fierce.
Parents continue to raise concerns about a broad range of issues including remote learning, mask mandates, and critical race theory — driving them to find alternative options.
Public schools throughout the United States saw a rapid decline in students — losing 1.5 million, or 3%, over the last year. We’re seeing an unprecedented increase in homeschooling — with over 10% of families choosing the option over both remote and in-person options at public schools or charter schools — and charter school enrollment has continued to grow.
The average annual funding per full-time K-12 student at a public U.S. school district is $12,624 (Education Data).
To keep families enrolled in public schools, education leaders must adopt a customer service mindset. If they don’t, they risk declining enrollment and budget deficits.
2. Marketing helps. But it’s not the answer.
In the face of rising competition from charter schools, homeschooling, and school choice, many public districts are investing in traditional marketing, such as TV ads, billboards, and radio spots to retain current students and attract new ones.
Advertising is a great way to build awareness of your school district. However, keeping families in your district enrolled year-over-year is another story.
That’s where great customer service can win people over. If you continually demonstrate a commitment to meeting the unique needs of every student, you’ll be able to keep families in your district.
3. Your schools already do customer service.
Your school or district might not have a formal approach to customer service. Keep in mind every staff member who interacts with parents or students — either in person, on the phone, or via email – performs some type of customer service.
The question isn’t whether they’re doing customer service. It’s whether or not they are doing it well.
Without a doubt, today’s school districts face many challenges. Keeping quality customer service at the forefront of your school’s priorities can positively impact parents’ decisions to keep their children enrolled.