Scottsdale Unified School District officials are hoping to find at least $260,000 from private and corporate sponsors for a program intended to upgrade customer service.
A newly formed committee will meet in January to discuss ways to improve customer service, including performing phone and Internet surveys of parents and conducting onsite observations of district employees.
"Our main emphasis is not to fire people, it’s to try to improve," said governing board member Karen Beckvar.
Surveys will be distributed to parents in February.
"We’re in a fairly competitive environment. We have parents who can afford to send their kids anywhere they want, so if they don’t feel welcome at our schools, then they’ll leave," Beckvar said.
The district, which has battled shrinking enrollment in past years, wants to focus on keeping families happy, she said.
To make that happen, employees such as bus drivers and receptionists, who have been retitled "directors of first impressions," will be given additional customer service training.
Former Mohave Middle School principal Clif McKenzie is now working as the district’s executive director of "exceptional customer experience," where he will help find consultants who will offer their work — pro bono — to the district.
"We’re planning on implementing the recommendations with existing resources and also developing partnerships with the private sector," said district Superintendent John Baracy.
Baracy told board members earlier this month he would seek corporate sponsorship to cover the $10,000 production and distribution costs of a customer service video called "I Can Help You."
Baracy has already brought in specialists from Nordstrom, Honeywell and Cookies from Home to speak to school principals about ways to improve customer service, and he plans to make such meetings routine.