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school marketing news

What is a parent's experience of your school?

Posted by Laura Sheahan

Customer serviceIn a recent podcast Brad and Andrew discussed the new era of interpreting information and how to keep your parents engaged and informed. You can listen to it here.

In this blog, I want to move a step further and look at the overall customer (parent) experience.

You see I tend to get abnormally excited when I experience good customer service. When a brand 'goes that extra mile' to help me ... so much so that I make it my personal mission for the rest of the day to tell as many people as will listen about the excellent customer experience I encountered.

Why?
Quite honestly, because it RARELY happens!

It's true that as a marketer I know a lot about brands; what they are doing, what they could be doing and how effective good customer service is ... but more importantly how easily, if applied consistently across a brand, it can be achieved.

A very brief example - on Saturday I went to a local pharmacy to purchase dental floss. Not just any kind of dental floss. I use what's known as a dental floss handle that has detachable disposable floss heads for those hard to reach places! 

Now that you know more than you would care to about my dental hygiene habits, let's move onto the point.

It must have been the fifth pharmacy I tried, and having checked the dental section in the store to no avail, I knew there was going to be a sixth. 

As I went to leave, the pharmacist, who had obviously been watching me, asked if I needed help. I awkwardly explained what I was looking for and she picked up an iPad, informed me that she hadn't seen them in store for a while but would be happy to see if they could order it in.

The result for me?
My search was over, no sixth pharmacy visit required, delighted! 

The result for the pharmacy?
I told everyone I met that day about the exceptional customer service I experienced.

Don't just take my word for it ...
Let's look at an iconic brand, one that layers its marketing throughout every element of the products and services it delivers to its customers - Apple.

Apple spends US$1.2 billion on advertising, but that's just 0.71% of its revenue. That is amazingly small, but pales in significance when compared to the time and money it spends on the customer centric experience, The Apple Experience - how it feels to get close to the brand.

Now, more than ever before, advertising can't and won't rescue a mediocre brand experience, but your customer service and experience can and will every time!

The key takeaway
Your school can have it all; 

  • excellent academic performance;
  • good extra-curricular and pastoral care offering;
  • an informative, well laid out website;
  • a solid marketing strategy that encompasses a good balance between outbound and inbound marketing; and
  • look visually pleasing.

None of that matters, if when a prospective parent telephones your school to make an enquiry and the school representative who answers is short, to the point and unhelpful ... you are DOOMED!

We live in a world where the customer (parent) experience is vital. Bad customer service is brand suicide.

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This blog was written by Laura Sheahan

In her role as Strategic Communications Director at imageseven, Laura manages and develops the company’s European business, drives imageseven’s corporate marcoms, and continues to work with many of her clients in Australia from the Emerald Isle. Outside the office, Laura can be found with friends, on a green perfecting her golf swing or tennis serve, trying out Cork’s trending eateries, or checking out the high street.