Caring Customer Service in Schools

Posted by Michele Mislevy, Instructional Media Specialist & Ivana Ivanovic, Communications Specialist on 11/12/2021

At the core of school functionality, customer service is a critical responsibility of school staff. High-quality customer service is a way for schools to establish mutual trust and respect, which is essential to strengthening school representation, branding, and personal well-being (Lucanus, 2020). This responsibility requires school administrators, teachers, and staff to listen, understand, and respond to the needs of their stakeholders because this can impact relationships between all school stakeholders, staff retention, and the attraction of school engagement by parents and students (Griffith, 2001). No matter how big or small, each of these interactions is a building block that builds trust and care within the school community. If school staff establishes a shared definition of the term customer while recognizing that customer service helps to build relationships, then the implementation of effective research-based customer services strategies can be implemented to improve school culture and climate (Griffith, 2001).

 

There are some simple actions you can take to provide excellent customer service:

  • Intentionally listening: When engaging stakeholders, take the time to give all your attention to the request in front of you. You may be the first interaction someone ever has with the school, district or intermediate unit so put your best foot forward by being genuine and authentic.
  • Treat the person like you want to be treated: Demonstrate empathy and clarify the request so you hear what is needed. Be prepared to apologize if there is a complaint and explain that you will help make things right.
  • Strategize how you can help: Sometimes it will be a simple thing you can do yourself, and other times you may need to pass this request on to someone better equipped to help. Expect to follow up to make sure that the customer’s need is met.
  • Be proactive. Try to look ahead at ways in which you can offer help before a request comes in. Is there something you can communicate or do ahead of time? Is there a process that can be streamlined or information that could be posted online to get ahead of common requests?

 

Unfortunately, there isn’t always a solution and that’s okay! Just do your best to help out! Providing excellent customer service can build deep and lasting relationships with all stakeholders in the community. Think about the next “customer” you will encounter: what opportunity will you have to provide excellent “customer service”?

 

If you would like support in developing your school community’s culture of customer service, please reach out to Innovative Educational Services (IES), who can provide a variety of cohesive trainings to an array of school employee audiences about how to provide high-quality customer service to meet increasingly diverse needs. 

 

References

Griffith, J. (2001). Do Satisfied Employees Satisfy Customers? Support-Services Staff Morale and Satisfaction Among Public School Administrators, Students, and Parents. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 31(8), 1627–1658. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2001.tb02744.x

Lucanus, A. (2020). Aligning Your Customer Experience With Your Brand Promise: Why Customer Service Matters in Schools. Teachers Matter, 48, 8–9.

Shuman, J. C., & Twombly, J. M. (2002). Everyone is a customer: A proven method for measuring the value of every relationship in the era of collaborative business. Dearborn Trade.

 

Innovative Educational Services (IES), a division within the Chester County Intermediate Unit, integrates curriculum and assessment, STEM, educational resources, and technology to transform educational experiences for all learners, both children, and adults, through professional learning, instructional design, events, staffing support, student activities, and customized services.