By Jessica Vician
One may not think of customer service as part of a school’s role, but when it comes to creating and maintaining a partnership between the school and parents, customer service plays a critical role.
Think about parental complaints. Parents might submit a complaint to the principal about a teacher’s disciplinary methods, or to a teacher about how much homework the child receives. Do you have a formal process to address parental complaints? If so, does every member of your staff know that process and follow it?
Use basic customer service principals in addressing parent complaints: thank the parent for bringing the complaint to your attention, acknowledge the complaint and make sure you understand exactly what it is, offer solutions to address it.
Teacher and Staff Training
While that is easier said than done—and a general rule of thumb—you and the staff can better address parent complaints through teacher training. For example, in our Teacher Training Workshop, teachers will learn extensively about issues that arise at the home so that they can better understand where the parents are coming from. They also learn to analyze their ways of teaching and to ensure that their communication with parents is engaging and meaningful.
Teachers can also use our 3-book set to help families and parents self-evaluate and help themselves if the issue is one that can be resolved at home (like a behavior or health issue).
When you and a parent arrange a meeting to discuss the concern, be prepared. Write down the four areas of success (physical health, social well-being, emotional well-being, and academic development) so you can identify where the student and the parent might need additional support.
Review the sections in our 3-book set that pertain to the issue at hand and jot down some bullet points to address during your meeting. Offer to lend the parent the book for helpful reading. While principals and teachers might not always have the answer, our books can help parents address a concern themselves.
By teaching parents how to better engage their child at home in the four areas of success, you can reduce parent complaints at school, as they are better prepared to address concerns themselves. By training teachers and staff in parent engagement, they are better prepared to work with parents when an issue arises and know how to validate, inform, and empower parents. Just as employees are trained in customer service, your staff can be trained to better address parent complaints and prevent them through parent engagement techniques.