As our schools head deep into recruitment season, we may be well served to stand back and do a hospitality audit. You know the old adage of “You only get one time to make a first impression.” We can brush this off and give cursory lip service to it or deeply learn from the truth it may contain. So how welcoming are our schools?
Do those who check out our schools online find our websites easy to navigate? Is our information current and timely? Are the images engaging and draw viewers in?
Is our street signage easy to read and visible and lit at night? Are our entry ways attractive? Is parking for school visitors available and well marked?
Are phone calls answered in a positive, friendly manner? Are email inquiries or questions handled promptly, with warmth in the tone of the response?
If we manage to have prospective families come for a tour, are they greeted warmly by all those they meet on their tour including passing students and staff? Are hall displays full of “beautiful work” done by our students (as per fire regulations)? Are students available to answer questions posed to them? Is the fragrance of Christ in the air?
Danny Meyer, a New York city restaurateur, says that hospitality is key especially for those in the service industry. Guess what? Our schools are in the service industry! We need to ensure thoughtfulness for all of our clients, whether they be prospective families or current students and families.
Meyer defines hospitality as the connection made between the brain and the heart when people understand that you see them, you notice them, and you understand their needs. They feel welcomed and attended too regardless of the size of their concern! Even if the problem cannot be solved, people often feel better knowing they have been heard and seen.
Paying attention to the little details does matter. These details showcase that our schools promote quality of character and product. They say, “We are glad you are here! You matter!”
As Danny Meyer says, “In the end, what’s most meaningful is creating positive, uplifting outcomes for human experiences and human relationships. Business, like life, is all about how you make people feel. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.”
Marianne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.