It all starts with customer service. If you’re serious about wanting to recruit and retain students to your school district, then customer service matters. Setting yourself apart from other options is essential.
What makes you different? What added value do you bring to the table? Why should a caregiver choose your school rather than a charter or private school option? Each school is going to have a list of things they can offer a family, but not every school will make a family feel valued, cared for, and heard. Customer service is paramount for setting your school apart from other choices.
So why is customer service so important?
1. Student retention is far less expensive than student recruitment.
It just makes sense. It’s a lot more work to recruit a new student than it is to retain a current student. And the number one way to increase your retention rates? Work on your customer service. Every interaction your school administration has with a parent or caregiver is important. Each time they react to a late student or a forgotten form or answer a confused phone call is a chance to either prove to that family that their student matters or they don’t.
2. Retaining students impacts your budget year after year.
Your school budget matters. Assistant principal salaries and art programs and technology matter. Each year that you retain a student is another year you receive funding for that student. Even if you only have one administrator that has a negative attitude, that administrator might interact with four families negatively and those four families may have three students each. Plus, those students all have best friends that could decide to look at new schools together. Even twenty or so students can be thousands of dollars coming out of your budget all because customer service wasn’t a priority.
3. Great customer service results in a reduction of overall problems.
It’s the snowball effect. One problem with one family can make that family more likely to address other issues which could have a widespread effect on other families. By focusing on customer service early, you can avoid a lot of turmoil for your schools.
4. Word-of-mouth advertising is the best kind of advertising that money can't buy.
Parents and caregivers are going to talk no matter what. Make sure what they are saying is positive about your district. It’s really that simple. If you care about the experience that families have, then they will care about the school.
5. Customer service conveys strong moral values and beliefs in the district's mission.
I bet your district has a mission statement and probably even a set of values listed on the website. But if customer service isn’t a priority, families won’t care at all what those words say because your actions are showing the opposite. Each time the school administration goes above and beyond for a family, they are reinforcing the mission and values your district represents.