Friday, July 13, 2012

Education and Customer Service

I recently read a guest post from Joshua Rivers on Chris LoCurto's blog about enhancing customer service and satisfaction. He came to the conclusion that happy customers are the result of happy employees. I believe one of Chick-Fil-A's executives is known for saying that his customers are not the patrons buying food, but the thousands of employees making and serving the food everyday. Businesses, or at least the successful ones, always place a huge emphasis on how leadership impacts results. Here is an excerpt from the blog:

Here are some quick lessons learned about this concept:
  • Customer service flows from leadership, through employees, to customers - It is foolish for a boss to think that they can improve customer service or patient care by bypassing the employees. It is the employees who are on the front-line with the customers.
  • Happy employees make customers and bosses happy - When employees are happy, they can more easily make customers happy. When customers are happy, the bosses are happy. Isn’t it great when everyone is happy?
  • Happy employees save the company money - If you have unhappy employees, they will either leave or tear things up. If they tear things up, it costs money to replace what they damage—and usually things are more expensive the second time around. If they leave, there is the additional cost of finding and training someone new. To save your bottom line, make your employees happy

Imagine what would happen if states and mayor-controlled school systems treated their employees like this. School districts seem to be losing their power to the will of state governments and even the federal  government. Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson recently told a gathering of the Florida School Boards Association that their job is to carry out the will of the Florida Legislature.

I know most people would assume that I am making an argument for increased pay and benefits, but that is certainly not the case. Here are some solutions that don't cost much money at all:
  • Enlist a panel of teachers to advise the governor and/or the legislature's education committees on proposed education legislation, including educational government contracts. 
  • Acknowledge that teachers are not 100% to blame for the problems plaguing public education.
  • Value experience like we do in other occupations. Recent college grads complain about employers wanting people with experience, yet experience seems to be a negative in education. 
  • Allow teachers to use teaching techniques that work for their subject, grade level, and student populations instead of imposing one set of techniques upon all teachers. 
  • Delegate properly. Tell us what you want us to accomplish and then allow us to figure out how to get there. 
This is not by any means an exhaustive list, but it is a start. 

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