Friday, January 26, 2018

10 Tips for Super Parent Satisfaction

Two years ago, my patience had one of the most trying days it had ever experienced. I had one job, get my daughter her driving permit, and that was a job that required a whole lot more time and waiting than I was prepared to give.  The steps were simple, so it seemed.

3 Steps and We're Done...

Step 1 - Find all the "required" paperwork.                CHECK

Step 2 - Get my paperwork notarized.                        CHECK

Step 3 - Get the driver's permit at the State Office.    After waiting in line for hours, CHECK. 


The most frustrating thing about going through the entire ordeal was the reoccurring thought that I would have to do this entire process again as a parent for my next 2 kids. Even though I was moderately annoyed, I really wasn't mad at the folks who helped me because they truly were working as hard and as fast as they could to help me and the countless other folks get their licenses. The fact was this.   The system didn't work very efficiently, and I couldn't stop thinking about how it could be more customer-focused instead of system-focused. 

But here's the REAL DEAL

I didn't want to share my thoughts of dissatisfaction because I just wanted to leave.  My exasperation drove me to resentment for the entire process because I was confident that no one there was interested in how I felt about my experience.  Furthermore I was convinced that this was a systems issue not a personnel issue. After all, what good would it do to offer suggestions or even complain to someone who was clearly a part of the system?

So how does this relate to parents?
The question that we as school leaders must ask is this.

  • Do our parents feel the same way about our processes?  
  • Do they feel that their thoughts really matter?  
  • Do they feel valued as partners in the education process?  
  • Do they find our customer service immediate and personal or insensitive and passive?  
To answer these questions, we all need to dig deep and answer this question.

10 Tips for Super Parent Satisfaction

This is a question that every school leader must answer from the perspective of a parent.  If you were a parent, would you feel that your calls were answered promptly and your questions responded to quickly?  If you entered the school doors, would your office staff greet you warmly no matter who you were or what you looked like?  Would your emails be returned promptly?  If you had a suggestion to make the school better, would you feel like the leader or who ever you talked to was open to listening to your ideas?

If you truly believe that all parents matter, don't miss the opportunity to act on that belief.  Here are a
few strategies to make parents feel more valued when they enter your building.

  1. Smile and make eye contact as you greet parents no matter what's going on.
  2. Don't be so busy that you can't personally and warmly acknowledge them. 
  3. Ask questions that offer your concern, your help or your support. 
  4. Don't get defensive when they're angry. They're not mad at you, yet.  Be open and listen to their frustration. 
  5. Help people understand that they're important and their feedback matters to the school.
  6. Before they leave, ask them if there's anything else you can do for them. 
  7. No matter what, thank them for coming to the school and wish them a great day.  
  8. Reply to parent emails within 24 hours.
  9. Acknowledge Facebook and Twitter comments with openness and understanding.
  10. Follow up with contact thanking people for taking time to talk to you.

Parents send us their very best; therefore, we owe them our very best. They deserve our efficiency, courtesy, dignity and most of all appreciation. When parents receive this kind of customer satisfaction, they will not only appreciate what we do, they'll actively support us in meeting our ultimate goal, student success. 

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