It’s difficult to escape ‘customer experience’ in today’s world. At a conference I attended earlier this year, one of the presenters spoke about the ‘Uber experience’ and how it had become the gold standard in terms of how they rated all interactions with other businesses/organisations.
Most businesses today invest significant time and money understanding their customers/clients with the intent of delivering a better service and experience. I’m not sure about you but I am regularly asked to complete customer satisfaction surveys!
Historically, schools have not been highly attuned to the student journey or the family experience. Yet, we operate in a highly competitive environment where parents are willing to walk away when schools fail to meet their expectations or the individual needs of learners. Look no further than the increase of students being home-schooled here and elsewhere. Contented students equal contented parents. Nonetheless, disillusionment among parents and disengagement among students still in ‘the system’ is on the rise.
This goes beyond the expectation of having competent teachers in classrooms. Competent teachers can deliver the curriculum but what’s missing here is the X factor: personalisation. A great customer experience is highly personalisation. For families, the experience begins with the first phone call, open day visit, meeting with the principal and it continues throughout the learning journey. I know of parents who have made decisions about whether to enrol at a particular school based on the feeling they get when they walk into a school. Whether we like it or not, schools will be rated, assessed, ranked and compared. Those that will be judged as great according to today’s standards will be the ones promoting genuine interactions not standardised transactions.
Meeting student needs and exceeding parent expectations happens when schools are listening to the pulse and developing a deep understanding of their community. If we do not take the whole student/parent experience seriously, we will be left behind when the ‘Ubers’ of schooling come to disrupt.