Although many in K-12 are cautious of comparing education to corporations, schools are in the business of educating students and preparing them for life. And one of the most important parts of any business is customer service.
During the edWebinar “Building Trust: 4 Sure-Fire Ways to Improve the K-12 Customer Experience,” the presenters explained why school leaders need to include customer service as part of their strategic plan. They also offered four steps to start improving school-community relations right away.
The presenters acknowledged that schools will have a more difficult time figuring out what good customer service looks like for their constituents than in other industries. Students, parents, teachers, and community members not only come from diverse backgrounds, but they also have disparate, and sometimes competing, needs.
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At the Seattle Public Schools, Heidi Henderson-Lewis, Customer Service Manager and District Ombudsperson, says they focus first on building healthy relationships with the Five R’s: Ready, Responsive, Respectful, Reliable, and Reflective. In addition, they focus on being proactive instead of reactive. Sharing information, no matter whether it’s good or bad news, before community members hear it from somewhere else can help the school maintain a positive relationship.