Using Real-Time Data for Better Decision-Making
A second trend is influenced by advancements in data mining capabilities and the role that advanced analytics plays in consumer markets. Examples include package tracking for major shipping carriers (UPS, Amazon), real-time real estate market trend tracking (Zillow) and 24/7 human or artificial intelligence support for customer needs.
This access to real-time data establishes an expectation among consumers that they should have the same level of access to information at their local schools.
Schools must implement systems that allow for transparent access to data, which can allow them to help their students and impact citizen decision-making.
This can be realized by giving parents access to data on student progress in real time through a student information system or district websites or portals. Eventually, families will expect to know exactly where their students’ projects are in a teacher’s grading queue.
Create a Consistent Customer Experience in the School Environment
Evolving technologies are helping to create an easier customer experience. Patrons can have food delivered to their doors (DoorDash, Uber Eats), groceries sent to their cars or homes (Peapod, Instacart), and money sent to their digital wallets (PayPal, Venmo).
This trend is more challenging for schools to embrace. Technology advancements and shifts to a customer service mindset can positively impact the operations of school systems. However, it must be a consistent and pervasive strategic effort and not just a shiny new system or tool.
Schools must train staff to be more aware of and responsive to customer needs, understanding that parents’ perceptions and expectations are largely influenced by consumer drivers.
This may look like schools making changes in processes and communication protocols to focus on parent and student needs. The goal is to see them as consumers who can make choices about where they receive their educational services.
Some schools have already begun to employ these practices through necessity. More schools would be wise to adopt a systemic approach to observing and responding to organizational operations and service delivery through the lens of these three trends.