Our Students Are Our Customers: Service Counts!

As I was checking into my room for a recent conference, I found my customer service to be over the top fabulous.  I was greeted with a smile, my questions were answered with ease, and to top it off I was given an opportunity to upgrade at the same cost.  What more could I possibly ask for?  Well within minutes, I needed directions to my room to which the concierge was pleasant and more than willing to help.  This amazing customer service left me smiling… I was delighted to be there!  The atmosphere was pleasant, everyone greeted me with kindness, and I was left with the feeling of importance.

As I checked out days later, I overheard an irritated woman share her disgust over the refrigerator outage that occurred in her room.  Immediately, the manager stepped in and offered reimbursement for any loss that she may have had in food.  Within minutes she was calm, appreciative, and relieved to hear that her concern was taken seriously.  What could have lasted minutes, dwindled to a moment based on the incredible customer service she received.

I then went to have breakfast.  My waitress noticed me sitting down and welcomed me at once.  Her prompt attention to me, delivered with a friendly smile, gave me the feeling that this simply was a place where people enjoyed working.  She buzzed around working effortlessly and making my time worth hers.

Then it happened… she noticed a line of jewelry that I was wearing.  One that is not common within the states and not easy to come by without being close to a rather large city.  She complimented the pieces that I was wearing and asked me if I liked them.  I raved about each piece as I love the uniqueness they deliver.  She then told me she owns 3 pieces that have each broken in some way.  Right then I knew what was coming next.  See, this company is unique to its customer service or lack there of.  Unless you order and return to the main store they are unable to fix or replace any of their pieces.  I have never known the downside to this service as I haven’t needed it, but this woman can tell a different story.  It was then that she said as much as she loves the look, she will no longer purchase their work.  She elaborated on her dissatisfaction in their service.  She simply felt that her needs were not met and in turn cannot trust the product or the makers.

This left me thinking about my customers… my students. 

Do I make them feel important? 

Do I answer their questions? 

Do I listen to their needs? 

What do you think great customer service look like in the classroom? 

Here are 6 Key Rules I have created within my classroom to deliver the service I feel my students deserve.  How do I know if it works?  I survey them!

  1.  Patience!  Without this we lose them from the very start.  We must walk the walk like a grandparent does with their grandchild… slow and steady.  As if the entire universe just stopped and we have nothing but time.  The minute you speed up, become agitated or frustrated, you have now left that child’s needs behind and made this about you.  Be patient… their time is valuable too!
  2. Attentiveness: BE PRESENT!  Look them in the eyes.  Do not allow others to distract you… their words are your teacher!  If you want to know what they need or what bothers them you need to listen attentively!
  3. Knowledge of Product:  Whatever it is that they are in need of you must be able to deliver a knowledgeable response.  That doesn’t mean you need to have all the answers, but you need to be able to be open and honest with them that if you don’t you will be putting this concern to the top of your list and yes, you will be getting back to them in a timely manner.
  4. Positive Vibes: If you cannot be positive when working with children PLEASE take your business elsewhere!  They don’t sign up for negativity and if they come packaged with it, YOU should be the one that puts positive vibes in their world!  Bottom line is YOU will have an impact on every child… it is up to you if it is POSITIVE or negative.  Choose wisely… every child depends on it!
  5. Handle the Unknown: Teachers can write books on the things that children say… so be prepared.  There is not a blueprint to the day in the life of a teacher with 27 different little people with 27 different backgrounds, let alone “starts” to their day.  BUT there is ONE constant… YOU!  BE PREPARED to handle the unknown with kindness and grace.  You will pay it forward without a doubt!
  6. Willingness to Learn: PLEASE acknowledge that you do not know everything… open your mind and your students’ minds to growing and learning together!  Be willing to learn something new and never underestimate the power of learning from your students.  They are a force to reckon with as long as you force yourself to recognize they may know something you don’t!

6+ I cant help but think there should be just one more take away to customer service in a classroom… DON’T TAKE IT PERSONAL!  The minute you think it is about you, you have lost the battle.  There will always be a child hurting, worried, frightened, (or worse) that ends up letting it out with their behavior.  That behavior is not about you!  It is about the child.  Go back to #2 and learn about the child!

In the end customer service is about one thing… the customer!    What are we doing to maintain customer satisfaction in our classrooms? Are our customers “delighted to be there”?

Do we greet them with a smile?

Do they get up”grades” to their learning?

Do we leave them smiling?

Are they left feeling important?

If we don’t know, we need to survey them!

What if your students made a video that reflected your customer service?

Would it look like this? #NoSoupForYou

or this? #positive

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