Customer service in the front office
The purpose of this study was to look at what type of customer service strategies public schools were using to handle parent interactions. The hypothesis researched was based on the belief that despite the three schools in the study being located in affluent communities with high national and state nonned tests scores, they would offer very little training or planning for customer service. It was also assumed that, with little effort, strategies used within the business community could be unitized in these school settings to help front office staff members better handle interactions with parents. Front office staff members (i.e. secretaries and administrative assistants) were identified as the people most responsible for fitting the role of the customer service agents at the schools. The customers in the study were identified as the parents in the community. Administrators and front office staff members from all three sites, as well as presidents of the parent associations from the elementary school and high school were interviewed during the study. The interviews revealed many angry and or aggressive interactions school front offices were having with parents. The findings revealed front office staff members at the three sites, despite having daily interactions with parents, were not being trained on how to most effectively serve them. Recommendations for an effective customer service plan are included and are based on interview highlights in addition to examples from the literature review.