How can we as teachers learn from the customer service world?

Focus: Developing an engaging and positive atmosphere from the start

Think of the last time you (a) bought something expensive, that you spent time deliberating over, or (b) you went of holiday.

(a) Now think of the person that sold it to you, why did you buy it from them and not someone else? Was it just because it was cheaper there, or was it because of the service that you were given?
(b) Now think of the employees that stick out in your mind that you came across; would you recommend them, give them a good review or would you not go back there again?

What can we learn from a customer service setting?

We can learn a lot from the consumer and customer service world, with the way in which you are met and enticed to buy products. Would you want to buy a car from a sales person that was positive, showed an interest and made you feel like they had your best interests in mind, not just the money they were making from you? The answer is probably going to be yes, so how can we replicate this feeling for students entering out classroom?

We can learn from the greats in customer service, like Richard Branson. He has set up his businesses to be centred around his employees (I.e. you the teacher), to give their customers (I.e. your students) the best experiences possible. Here are five things that I’ve taken from him that I feel would be very useful:
·         The first impression is everything
·         Ask yourself “How would I want to be treated?”
·         Continue by making every experience positively personal
·         Be out there “A good leader [teacher] doesn’t get stuck behind a desk”
·         Beware the us vs them environment, we should all share, value and maintain the working environment

How can we apply these to teaching?

If we apply the idea that we are selling our students information and that we have to convince some of them to buy it, we can then understand techniques to overcome some of the barriers we as teachers face. As stated above, the first impression is everything, we need to make every experience positively personal and think “How would I want to be treated”. When we accept that these five elements can be applied in the first five minutes of a lesson to engage students in buying into our ‘product’, we can then use it to ride a wave of positivity for the remainder of the lesson, and sell a lot of our product to them.

I’ve tried below to give examples of how we as teachers can apply these customer service strategies at the start of our lessons:
·         Smile at every student that enters the room
·         Make positive comments to students as they enter the room
·         Meet students at the door, or positively at their desks
·         Help students to feel wanted and respected
·         Show an interest in students out of lesson/school interests

To finish, think of this analogy with one of your underachieving and disengaged students as the customer:

As an airhost/airhostess, how can I make a flight as enjoyable as possible for a customer who has a fear of flying?

Thank you for reading


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