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  • Caissa Public Strategy

We Secret Shopped a Public School

We secret shopped a public school…it wasn’t great.

A couple of weeks ago, our CEO, Brian Stephens, got the opportunity to secret shop a public school. Here’s what he had to say about his experience:  “I had the opportunity to secret shop a public school with a prospective student in the community to see how the school was interacting with families. We were able to meet the principal, guidance counselor, and several teachers. I was looking for enticing reasons to send a child to this school, and ultimately, I was not impressed.  It didn’t seem like they were trained on how to deal with incoming parents and students. Before I arrived, I was given a map with directions on it. I got stopped at the front gate by a guard who immediately started talking down to me. That’s your frontline right there. It’s an opportunity to start off on a warm, friendly foot. Instead, I was told again and again that I wasn’t allowed to park in this lot. Even when I told him that this is where I was told to park, he continued to raise his voice telling me to park somewhere else. When we finally found the right place to park, we got out of the car and tried to find where we were supposed to meet the guidance counselor. We looked pretty confused as we were walking around the school with our map out in front of us. We passed by at least five people with staff lanyards and not one of them stopped to ask us if we could use any help. They did nothing that would give us a reason to participate in this school district. These encounters form our first impressions of the school and all we felt was confusion.  Then we came across some teachers and asked them for directions to the guidance counselor’s office. They pointed down the hall and went back to their conversation. They didn’t ask if we needed help or offered to walk us there themselves. We made it to the freshmen building and things looked like they were about to change. A nice, helpful teacher came up to us asking if there was anything she could do to help. She walked us to the guidance counselor’s office, and we were finally feeling good about this school. Then we met the guidance counselor. He just didn’t seem to care that we were there. He was the one who set this tour up, but he acted like he had better things to do. The principal and the vice principal even came by, but they acted the same way. They were very polite, but they saw our visit as more of a burden.”  The school didn’t share any positive message points, didn’t try to sell their school, and the staff wasn’t trained on customer service. Highlighting the positive things your school has to offer and ensuring your staff is ready to talk about those message points is critical for your school’s recruitment and retention strategy.  Being nice and being committed to customer service that sells your school district are two very different things.  If you’d like to learn more about our training courses for school administration, click here  You can also watch Brian talk about his experience by clicking here.

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