In 2001, I was training assistant principals and I asked about school districts as brand choices. “But, kids go to our schools because of attendance zones,” one person said.
Times have changed. Parents have more choices than ever, and no school district should take parents for granted. This is true of any customer of any industry. We all have more choices and can take our business, or our children, to a company or a school that meets our personal needs and keeps our needs in the forefront at all times. Good customer service is not enough. It’s an expectation. You must “Wow” your customers in order to keep them.
Here are a couple of examples of customer experiences that are OK and examples of service with a “Wow” factor. These are based on my experience in school PR, but you can apply these principles to just about any situation.
Own the request, no matter who you are.
A parent calls you and asks about a special program in your district. You do not work with the program, but there is information on your district website.
- OK customer service: Direct the parent to the website and tell them which links to look for to find program details.
- Wow factor service: Walk the parent through the website as you are on the phone, so that you read the pages together. If the parent is not near a computer, offer to email the link to them. Call or email them back the next day to confirm they found the information and ask if you can be of further service.
Resist the temptation to give the request to someone else.
A parent calls you and asks about enrollment procedures at secondary schools. You do not work with secondary schools, but you know who does.
- OK customer service: You write down details about the request and the parent’s contact information, and you give the message to the person responsible for secondary programs.
- Wow factor service: You get details from the parent, visit the secondary department in person, get the information, and call the parent back with the answer. You give the parent your name and number as well as the name and number of the appropriate contact person for future questions.
Good customer service won’t set you apart from everyone else, but a little “Wow!” factor will create a great customer experience.
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