Training educators in customer service is important for building a reputable early childhood education and care service. Create a welcoming environment for children and families by educating your staff how to appropriately communicate with parents and guardians. Simple customer service skills can go a long way when interacting with parents and handling difficult situations. Preparing your staff to manage situations calmly and appropriately can help improve relationships at your service and create a better environment for educators, parents, and children. In this article, we will outline the importance of good customer service, how it can improve your service, and what to teach your educators during their training.
The Importance of Customer Service in ECEC
Beyond caring for and educating children, educators also often have to interact with parents and guardians. Having good customer service skills allows these educators to communicate effectively with families and build trusting relationships. How your staff interact with your families has a huge impact on a families’ experience at your service.
Building Communication Skills
To start improving your staff’s customer service skills, teach them about the importance of communication. Active listening techniques like making eye contact, not interrupting, nodding your head, etc., can show that your staff members are engaged with who they’re speaking with.
When communicating with families, educators should be clear and respectful. Good communication skills include being brief yet specific, thinking before speaking, having a positive attitude and a smile, and maintaining open body language.
Creating a Welcoming Environment
Oftentimes, educators will be the first people parents interact with when they enter your service. Creating a welcoming environment starts with greeting families warmly. Encourage smiles and a positive greeting. This creates a good first impression and ensures families are comfortable at your service.
Managing Difficult Situations
It’s inevitable that your team will have to manage a tough situation with parents or guardians. When handling a situation, ensure your team comes from a place of empathy. Actively listen to a parents’ concern and respond respectfully and calmly. Clarify the issue, discuss possible solutions or explain reasoning behind a policy, then be sure to follow up after the conflict is resolved.
To avoid difficult situations and negative reviews as much as possible, outline your policies and procedures clearly in your parent handbook.
Handling Confidentiality and Privacy
In the early childhood education field, safety and security are a priority. Ensure your staff are aware of what information is sensitive and should not be shared. Outline these policies and practices in an employee handbook.
Start training your educators in customer service through workshops and training programs. Use group discussions, interactive activities, role-playing, and real-life examples to get started. Support your staff and continue to reinforce the importance of customer service throughout and after the training. Building customer service skills for your educator will result in better communication, improved relationships, and a better reputation for your service.