The question was recently posed to me, “Is customer satisfaction measured at our school?” It was a response to a series of quotes have been tweeting from one of our faculty’s summer reading selections, “Exceptional Customer Service.”
It is a great question and one I hoped and expected would be asked sooner or later. The short answer is yes, in some areas.
Before we answer this question, we must answer another question, “Who are the customers in a school?” Students? Parents?
I would expand the question beyond the use of the term ‘customer’ in the context of a school setting, instead preferring to use the term ‘stakeholder.’ To me, stakeholder includes all groups (students, parents, faculty/staff, alumni, board members, etc.)
Occasionally, when receiving feedback from parents, I’ll hear a phrase that goes something like, “As parents, we’re the ones that pay the bills.” It follows logically, therefore, that parents are the customers. But, what about me? I am a faculty/staff member and a parent. With two children (and a third on the way) at our school, my wife and I pay tuition (in addition to taxes that presumably go to funding public schools). Am I a customer, too? There are several faculty members in this category. How do we balance providing the service and receiving it as well?
And what about students? In most cases, students are not paying the bills, but they are the primary “users” and really the primary reason schools exist. Are they customers, too?
So, I would argue that all groups mentioned are stakeholders. And the term ‘customer’ is insufficient to use in a school setting.
Now, let’s answer the original question. “Is
customer stakeholder satisfaction measured in your school?”
Our school measures stakeholder satisfaction in a number of ways. This is a list off the top of my head without asking others. I’m certain there are many more ways that other folks on our team would contribute. My initial list includes…
– Admissions Survey to New Families (about their experience, orientation, etc.)
– Admissions Lunch with New Students (about a month after school has started)
– End of Course Student Surveys (in Middle and Upper School)
– After Event Surveys for Teachers (how to improve after events such as conference day, open house, faculty meeting, etc.)
– Teacher Observation forms that include feedback on student engagement.
– Middle School teachers are creating scoreboards around how they are implementing ideas from the summer reading related to providing “exceptional customer service.”
– Informal, qualitative data received in my email inbox/phone voicemail.
We are beginning to generate great discussions around what customer service means, how effective we are at providing it, and how to measure it. I foresee expanding our measurements and including specific topics/areas such as…
– Carpool Systems
– Conference Day
– Grade books
– Block Schedule
What topics would you like to see measured?