Students are not customers. Parents are not customers. Vendors are not customers. Co-workers are not customers.
I hear these statements all the time from people in Education who don’t like the concept of customer service – “we’re educators, not customer service reps!”
While it’s true that many in Education are educators, this lack of willingness to embrace the concept of customer service is like a roadblock to a healthy culture internally and respectful and responsive relationships with those not employed by the school system.
In the article Expert: Better customer service one answer to district’s out-enrollment, Newport Independent Schools Superintendent Kelly Middleton talks about the importance of customer service. He’s in a district with another public school district and a private school nearby – he’s in competition. In understanding that competitive concept, he looks for how his district can differentiate itself from others – and part of that difference-making equation comes down to customer service.
When Middleton offers examples of customer service, he uses examples of empathy (using the sporks to eat when he’s in the cafeteria with the children), having great communicators assigned with more customer-facing responsibilities (putting the right people in the right positions), and making home visits (going to the child’s home to learn more about them and develop relationships with their family).
Don’t let the term “customer service” keep your organization from serving others.
Interested in improving your customer experience? Visit the Customer Service Solutions website.