If CUSTOMER SERVICE impacted the decisions we made throughout our renovation process and will continue to influence where we shop for future furniture purchases and securing contractors, it IS a BIG deal. Customer service is defined as "the assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services." So, what does this have to do with education? It was this process of relationship building and the follow-up customer service that we experienced that led me to reflect upon my role as an instructional technology specialist. In education, who are the customers? Students! And parents are too, of course. In fact, in all facets of education, there is a customer and a customer service provider. In my role, my direct customers are the teachers and staff across the district for whom I provide technology integration training. If I provide sound customer service to my teachers, then they'll continue to invite me back into their classrooms to help them which will in turn impact our primary customers: students. However, unlike my renovation experience, our customers often do not get to choose us as their provider. Therefore, I feel it is imperative that we provide quality customer service to students, parents, teachers, and community members. In fact, I believe so strongly in the importance of providing customer service in education that I have deemed Customer Service as my #onelittleword this year.
I encourage you to reflect on the type of customer service you are providing in your classroom, campus, department, etc. Are you providing the kind of customer service that makes your students and teachers want to come back? Here's a great list of customer service skills to implement in your role as an educator. (Adapted from Help Scout, a company that focuses on customer service.)
- Clear Communication Skills
- Knowledge of the Content, Campus, Department...
- Use Positive Language
- Acting Skills or as I often refer to "Fake it until you make it!"
- Time Management Skills
- Ability to "Read" Customers or Make Time to Build a Relationships
- A Calming Presence
- Goal-Oriented Focus
- Ability to Handle Surprises = Flexibility and Adaptability in Education
- Persuasion Skills
- Closing Ability = Customer Satisfaction
- Willingness to Learn = Lifelong Learner
Which of these is your strongest skill? Weakest?
PS - The renovation project is not complete. We are now building a massive deck and patio area in our backyard ourselves (As in my husband and I are working in the evenings and available weekends to complete this project!). If only we would have found a contractor who provided great customer service and was qualified to do this outdoor work, I could have saved a few fingernails and my husband a few gray hairs! I have also learned that I am way better at using technology in education than I am at using the technology involved with power tools.