Making a Difference
Perceptions are created during and after every encounter – face to face encounters, phone conversations, notes sent home, text messages, or emails. How does the encounter measure up against their perception or expectation? When parents and students receive anything less than what they expect, a performance gap is created, and it is this gap that produces disappointment which over time produces dissatisfaction. This dissatisfaction leads parents to question the value of having their children attend Victory, especially in the mist of the financial commitment they have to make in getting their children enrolled and then paying the monthly tuition.
In the Lives of Students ‑ Part 7
You are the Key
Dr. Dennis Demuth
You are a vital aspect in providing quality services to our students and their parents. Other schools can duplicate our programs and prices, but they cannot copy you. You are the key. To our students, parents and community, you're the voice and personality of Victory Christian School. You signify all that Victory stands for. The role that you play is very vital if the school is to increase student and parent satisfaction.
The formula that is guiding our action is PV=Q+CS-C. PV refers to perceived value; Q relates to quality; CS is customer service, and C relates to the cost. Your greatest influence will be on the quality and customer service components.
The value parents perceive of having their children attend Victory is greatly influenced by the service you provide. Our students and parents may not necessarily know the reasons behind decisions that are made, but they do know and observe how service is being delivered based on these decisions. It is the service delivery that matters! For example, parents may not fully understand how CurriculumTrak and our Lesson Plan module interact; but they do know when the lesson plans are posted as promised - 10 a.m. on Monday.
What Do Parents Want?
Consider the following three: 1) they expect us to pay attention to details. Improving this area requires us to listen carefully and to repeat back to them what they are saying. Get the details right the first time, and give them an opportunity to correct or clarify any of the information. 2) They want to know they are appreciated, and 3) they expect their time and placement of children in our school to be viewed with value.
Creating Positive Perceptions
Disappointed parents go elsewhere to have their education needs met. Business research shows that 67% to 70% of the change in vendors is a result not of products but of servicing these products. Furthermore, 68% who quit doing business with an organization do so because of perceived indifference on the part of employees. Research suggests that it takes 12 positive incidents to make up for one negative incident in the eyes of a customer.
Create Positive Points of Contact
There are several actions that we can take to improve our customer service to our parents and students.
1. Be faithful in fulfilling all professional responsibilities – this includes all the tasks expected of our professional staff – well-organized classrooms, established routines, handling of tests and quizzes, well-managed classrooms, fairness in assessing student learning, effective discipline, to name a few.
2. Present a caring and friendly atmosphere in your office area or classroom. A smile goes a long way in producing a friendly atmosphere.
3. Take ownership of problems and find solutions.
4. Work on having clean and neat surroundings whether in office, classroom, or hallways. This says, "We pay attention to details."
5. Deliver on dates and information promised.
6. Return phone calls and email promptly; within 24 hours.
7. Show sensitivity to students’ and parents’ feelings and emotions.
8. Avoid emotional trigger words such as quoting policy," "can't," "you should have," "why didn't you," or "the only thing we can do.”
9. Thank students and parents for bringing challenging situations to your attention.
10. Take the responsibility for fixing problems and don't get caught in the trap of blaming others or making excuses.
The Holy Spirit knows what every student and parent needs to confirm His plan while at VCS. Our job is to hear and obey the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the best customer service trainer we have. We depend on Him to point out things that need to be strengthened.