Of course these are important when marketing a school - but they're also missing some vital human elements - choosing a school is much more involved than buying a brand of cereal or mobile phone. That's why I prefer the model above, which adds People, Processes and Physical Evidence to the mix. These represent the day-to-day experiences of your stakeholders when they come face to face with your school - what we might sum up as customer service!
So, what do these Ps cover, and how can you check you're delivering excellent customer service? The best way to find out is probably through professional mystery shopping (see below), but you can start by asking these 12 questions (4 for each P).
- Can you easily park and/or find your way to reception?
- Is there interesting and recent material to read about the school while waiting for a visit?
- As you walk around the school can you see anything that reinforces your school's key messages - and perhaps more importantly anything that contradicts them?
- Can you take away useful material that tells you more about the school?
- Are you greeted politely and promptly at your school, whether in person or on the telephone?
- Are people left sitting in reception for a long time?
- Is information about why you are visiting passed on, or do you have to explain why you are there several times?
- Are people you meet including students consistent and clear about the key strengths of the school?
- Is it easy to get information about your school online, on the telephone or in person?
- Are application forms (whether for a job or a school place) easy to read and quick to fill in?
- Are your questions dealt with immediately, or passed onto the right person who can get back to you quickly?
- Are you sent personalised, relevant and useful information following a school visit?
If you want to learn more about taking customer service further, take a look at Geoff Ramm's book 'Celebrity Service', or talk to RHL Consulting about their mystery shopping service.