Some months ago, I was invited by the owners of a big school to discuss issues about the school’s implementation of many of our stategies. The school is quite big and popular among many other schools of their kind. They were so excited to have me oblige to visit. They’ve attended our trainings and meetings. I got there right on time that day with my team and had put a call across to notify them of my arrival. We were instructed to approach the front desk to lead us in. Apparently, instructions had also been given to them about how to receive us.
The front desk officer was rather cold. She chewed her gum confidently and wore a face with no smiles at all. She was seriously expecting one much talked about Mr David Adeniji who had an appointment with the directors, only that she didn’t know I was the one before her. She apparantly expected a pot-bellyed, business looking man with many people following him. I only went there with my P.A. and one other fellow.
Alas! While we waited for minutes, still obeying her instructions and explaining ourselves, and she, still trying to figure out why we came, her phone rang, she picked it, then it dawned on her I was the Mr Adeniji they had expected. You could see her disappointment in herself.
It’s important we note that some offices we esteem less are the main determiners of the school’s fortunes. Further more, the school’s admins, principal, and heads can simply be the reason the school is either growing or losing prospects.
Gatekeepers are the employees you have positioned for people to see before they see you or have anything to do with the school. They include the security guards, front desk, receptionist, your secretary, admins, Headteachers, principal, etc.
I’ve seen always that these set of people often determine the fortunes of the school as they’re the faces people contact first. New parents see them first and existing parents would either endure or enjoy them everyday. They may or may not be representing you well, but there’s little you can do about it. If you fail to put your best feet forward, you may never have the second chance to make the first impression.
Make sure your GATEKEEPERS are not peoole who take so much pride in bouncing off prospective business links all in the name of protecting your interest and following instructions. Make sure they’re people with little or no personal issues, otherwise, they transfer their aggression always on your prospects and benefactors.
*LAYER 1 – SECURITY GUARDS: I’M ALWAYS DISAPOINTED*
I’m particularly disappointed at many of us on the kind of attitudes put up by our security guards. They’re the very first layer of gatekeepers in your school. At times they give off unnecessary information about you so cheaply. Many times they think their defense is in how hard they look.
Your security guards may not be as academically qualified as the teachers, but did you not tell them that smiling is the biggest attribute of Gatekeepers? You got them on contract perhaps from a security company, but I tell you they may not know much about the etiquettes of a school support staff. You need to teach them a thing or two about how to create a lasting first impression on visitors and a continuous happy impressionon on existing parents.
Another Thing that disappoints me is the appearance of both the guards and their security rooms. Except you’re thinking that department doesnt matter, Their post – that small room where people fill a log book when they enter the school – should be nicely kept and arranged like the reception. At the least, it shouldn’t be dirty or unkempt. It’s an indication of your attention to detail and culture of excellence.
*So, convert your security guards. They already have security training, you should give them Attitude Training.*
This applies to your driver’s , bus assistants and others.
*CALL FOR OUR N.A.S.E. Training for support staff*
*2. LAYER 2 – YOUR FRONT DESK/RECEPTION/SECRETARY*
If you don’t have a dedicated front desk office, then you’ve trainied yourself not to be excellent. Many times when you get to a school, you may not need to enter all the rooms or see all the classes. The setting and ambience at the front desk immediately tells you not few,but many things about the thinking of the school owner and many things about her understanding of excellence. Don’t be surprised parents make 50% of their decision based on this. Front desk people should be those with the best communication skills? Why do I say so? They determine the fortunes of the rest of us.
POINT 9 –
YOUR ADMIN, HM, BURSAR AND PRINCIPAL. they’re all front desk persons or Gatekeepers at one level or the other.)
Make sure they’re not those who take so much pride in bouncing off prospective business links all in the name of protecting your interest and following instructions.
Make sure they’re people with little or no personal issues, otherwise, they transfer their aggression always on your prospects and benefactors. Of course everyone has personal issues, but front desk people and infact every productive employee has mastered the secret of being happy and expressing it despite all odds.
Make sure they’re not people who nurse grudges against you the visioner, else they take off their pound of flesh from you by being rude to parents.
Above all, let the front desk people feel the favour and goodness of being an aide to the Boss, Let good things flow to them from you as such, that they just love you and want to grow with you.
Teach them how to bring the best out of everyone’s countenance. How to get a sale from every personality.
HIRE A DIGITAL ASSISTANT
_*People May forget what you said or what you do, but people will never forget how you made them feel. — Maya Angelou*_