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Six Smart Ways to Improve Customer Service in Schools

Ruthie Carey
Ruthie Carey Content Strategist

Superior customer service in schools goes beyond a mere checklist; it's a transformative strategy that impacts all involved parties. With over 30% of learners seeing themselves as customers in higher education, students take center stage. They thrive in a positive environment where their needs are promptly met, leading to higher retention rates. Parents and guardians, as essential stakeholders, become strong advocates when their interactions with the school are smooth and constructive.

This blog delves into the significance of outstanding customer service in schools, outlines 6 effective strategies, and addresses 4 common challenges with practical solutions.

Why Exceptional Customer Service Matters in Schools?

Why does customer experience matter? Exceptional customer service in schools is a demonstration of care towards parents and their children. Engaging, answering questions, and addressing concerns foster trust, making parents believe your school is the best choice for their offspring. The benefits are extensive:

  1. Competitive Advantage: Stand out with a user-friendly website, clear FAQs, personalized service, and quick communication.
  2. Positive Reputation: A positive image can lead to substantial donations, as exemplified by Oprah Winfrey's $1.5 million donation to the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
  3. Diversity and Inclusion: Address unconscious bias with tools like FAQs or live chat, creating an inclusive environment for learners of different backgrounds.
  4. Lasting Relationships: Satisfied students and parents lead to long-term loyalty, and happy graduates can attract more students.
  5. Financial Opportunities: More scholars mean more funding, crucial for the financial health of educational institutions.
  6. Student Achievement: Positive customer service in private schools and public schools contributes to student openness, growth, and success in achieving life goals.

6 Strategies for Exceptional Customer Care in Education

If you are wondering how to improve customer service in schools, here are six best practices in 2023 that can ensure a seamless and positive experience for students, faculty, and the broader academic community. Let us understand each one of them with an example of good customer service in schools.

1. Effective Communication and Transparency

Establishing clear lines of communication and maintaining transparency is foundational to exceptional customer care in education. A school can implement robust communication platforms for parent-teacher engagement, including regular newsletters, parent-teacher conferences, and accessible online portals.

Utilizing omnichannel approaches for streamlined communication and sales, coupled with CRM platforms, ensures a centralized interface for student and parent queries. The omnichannel marketing strategy provides benefits such as personalized experiences and cost savings, making it the new standard in the global education sector.

Example: Regent University, based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, fosters streamlined communication through a unified platform encompassing chat, email, and voice for both inbound and outbound interactions. This approach enables essential university departments to connect with students efficiently and enhances overall communication effectiveness.

Learn more in this case study.

2. Implement a Comprehensive Feedback System

Gathering feedback is essential for continuous improvement. Regular surveys, conducted as part of routine practices, offer valuable insights into student and parent satisfaction. It helps you understand if your students and their guardians are satisfied with the school services. If not, what could have gone wrong?

Actively seeking and responding to customer reviews is crucial for improvement. Transparently releasing survey results demonstrates a commitment to addressing concerns, and viewing feedback as a gift for learning and improvement.

Example: Seton Hall University achieved a notable surge in polling response rates—up to two hundred percent—by executing surveys efficiently and conducting sophisticated statistical analyses with precision.

Learn more in this case study.

3. Personalized and Attentive Service

Creating unique student personas and tailoring services accordingly is key to providing personalized and attentive service. Establishing dedicated support services for specific needs, along with centralized support hubs, streamlines issue resolution.


The Student Success District by the University of Arizona offers a one-stop shop for academic support, career services, and counseling. This ensures that students receive individualized attention, addressing their unique needs and contributing to a positive overall experience.

4. Proactive Conflict Resolution

Conflicts are inevitable, but a proactive approach to conflict resolution can prevent issues from escalating. Schools should establish clear conflict resolution protocols and provide training for staff on effective mediation techniques. By addressing conflicts promptly and fairly, schools demonstrate their commitment to creating a positive and supportive learning environment.

Example: Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), a private nonprofit institution with over 3,000 on-campus students, has adopted a proactive approach to enhance its operations. Utilizing built-in API integrations with Salesforce Lightning and the university's Student Information Systems (SIS), SNHU now leverages automated screen pops. This innovative solution assists agents by providing seamless access to caller information, contributing to a more efficient and informed communication process.

Learn more in this case study.

5. Regular Training and Skill Development

Investing in the ongoing training and skill development of staff is crucial for maintaining a high standard of customer care. Professional development programs can enhance communication skills, conflict resolution abilities, and the overall effectiveness of educators.

A well-trained staff contributes to a positive school culture and ensures that everyone is equipped to handle the diverse needs of students and their families.

Example: Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) swiftly transitioned its contact center to the cloud, enabling seamless remote work for staff. The frontline support, adeptly trained on the new platform, efficiently managed a variety of COVID-related calls.

Learn more in this case study.

6. Leverage Technology for Efficiency

Embracing customer service technology advancements is crucial for meeting the expectations of modern customers. Considering tools like Helpcenter, AI Chatbot, Live Chat, knowledge base, and Private Cloud enhances the overall digital customer experience. The adoption of such technology ensures that educational institutions keep pace with leading companies, providing great services in a digital age.

Example: The University of Akron significantly enhanced efficiency by swiftly deploying a new contact center. Real-time dashboard reporting and expanded supervisor licenses underscore the university's commitment to leveraging technology for streamlined operations, enabling cost savings, resource access, and superior student support.

Learn more in this case study.

4 Common Challenges and How to Address Them

Providing exceptional customer services in school districts comes with its own set of challenges. Let us discuss them one by one and explore their respective solutions.



Communication Gaps

Schools often struggle with communication gaps between administrators, teachers, parents, and students, leading to misunderstandings and frustration.

  • Implement a centralized communication platform for updates, announcements, and policy changes.
  • Ensure that all stakeholders, including parents, teachers, board members, and students, have access.
  • Conduct regular meetings and workshops to facilitate open communication and address concerns promptly.

Staff Training and Empowerment

Inadequately trained or disempowered staff may struggle to provide excellent customer service in public schools and private schools, leading to a negative experience for parents and students.

  • Invest in comprehensive training programs for staff, focusing on effective communication, conflict resolution, and customer service skills.
  • Empower staff members by providing them with the necessary tools, resources, and authority to make decisions, ensuring they feel confident in addressing inquiries and concerns.

Handling Complaints and Conflict Resolution

Dealing with parental complaints, student conflicts, or academic concerns can be challenging, especially when emotions run high.

  • Establish clear and transparent complaint resolution protocols, emphasizing a proactive approach to addressing concerns before they escalate.
  • Provide training for staff in conflict resolution techniques, enabling them to navigate sensitive situations with empathy and efficiency.
  • Encourage open dialogue between parents, students, and educators.

Managing Technology and Data Privacy

Private and public schools increasingly rely on technology for communication and administration, but this also raises concerns about data privacy and security.

  • Develop and enforce robust data privacy policies to safeguard sensitive information.
  • Provide staff training on technology usage and data security to mitigate risks.
  • Regularly update and upgrade technology systems to align with education industry standards and address potential vulnerabilities.
  • Communicate clearly with parents about the measures taken to protect their data.

Streamlining School Customer Service with Five9: A Game Changer

The pandemic underscored the need for schools to upgrade their contact centers, and Five9 emerged as a game changer in meeting these challenges. With a surge in remote learning, Five9 Intelligent Voice Response (IVR) and Omnichannel Mobile solutions addressed the growing demand for real-time care options. The ability to access information at any time through various channels became crucial.

Five9 not only streamlined operations but also integrated seamlessly with leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions, enhancing staff productivity and transforming the student experience. The adoption of Five9 proved strategic for universities looking for elevated customer experience and digital transformation.

Ruthie Carey
Ruthie Carey Content Strategist

Call 1-800-553-8159 to learn more about Five9