Friday, May 15, 2015

Can a student be a customer? #VirtualSchools #CyberSchools

Yes. And when virtual schools begin to see them as customers it will alter the entire landscape.

But, we must look at them as customers only in the way in which we serve them, not in the way in which we recruit them. Meaning, it cannot be a marketing ploy or a top-down program. It must be part of the culture. Disney is renowned for it because it is who they are, not what they do. It's all about the service!

This aspect is sorely lacking in virtual schools. The schools who know how to implement this type of culture and are willing to take it on, well, they are the ones that will lead the next generation of virtual schools.

What will it look like?

We speak differently with them because we understand that each and every touch point we have with them is an opportunity to build loyalty toward the school.

We actively search for ways in which we can WOW them unexpectedly.

We pay attention to the details of the overall learning experience, not just the academic part of the equation. 

We understand how our actions either inspire them or push them away.

We understand that educating our youth is required but which school they attend is a choice.

We take our cues from companies who lead in serving customers and apply them to the virtual learning experience.

We re-imagine how students are treated and how teachers and staff are trained.

We understand it must be part of our DNA, our culture, our "who we are."

One note, there are two pivotal failure points in this approach.

1. If we talk the talk of service but do not walk the walk we will simply escalate the exodus of families to seek greener pastures elsewhere. Simply inserting the word "customer" for "student" will not suffice.

2. If we continue to see our customers as merely students and families, then virtual schools will continue to look exactly how they look right now -- high attrition rate and all.

(I published this today because I continue to hear of cyber/virtual programs that are taking my customer concept and applying it incorrectly which is troubling to me.)

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