How to use Storypark to improve your Customer Experience
In the last post, we talked about the importance of implementing a measurement to assess where your CX is at. If you missed the previous two videos, I recommend watching them to help as they are awesome and you will learn a whole lot about what customer experience is and how to get started to manage and improve your CX. Now, back to measuring CX. The most common way to measure your CX is through a survey, but what do you ask? Well, there is one question that has emerged as the most used globally since its introduction over 20 years ago in a Harvard University paper, it is called the Net Promoter Score or NPS for short.
The NPS question is ‘how likely are you to recommend (the business/product) to a friend or family member’ and it uses a scale of ) for not at all likely through to 10 for highly likely. Does that sound familiar? Well it should, it is a methodology used by the majority of the largest companies around the world, so you may have been asked this question plenty of times in the past. It is a really effective measurement as it allows the customer to tap into their feelings and that is what we are most interested in. Remember, it is all about feelings – feelings drive behaviour, and conversations, and so much more! We know that word of mouth is the primary method of families hearing about centres and the NPS question helps to measure where families sit in that advocacy spectrum, are they going to recommend you or not.
We have been researching CX in the ECE sector for 5 years and have uncovered the drivers of advocacy and recommendations. There is no surprise that it is the people that make the biggest difference and following that is communication. If parents love their centre they talk positively about the employees and the communication, if they are unhappy with their centre they talk negatively about the employees and the communication.
Storypark plays a vital role in intercepting these two critical elements, it is connecting families with educators through communication. Well crafted stories demonstrate care and attention of the educators which makes a positive impression on the families, while also engaging them with what is happening during the day which tops up their desire for the right level of communication. Here are a couple of quotes from parents regarding the impact of receiving a story:
“It is not easy for me to leave my babies to go to work so to receive a photo of them both daily as well as a learning story makes my day”
“Opening a story is the highlight of my working day! Love seeing how much fun she is having! “
It is clear to see how Storypark makes a huge impact on the way families feel, so today, I’m going to talk about tips on how to best use Storypark to provide better customer experiences and improve advocacy!
A foundational principle of great CX is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of your customers, to have a high level of empathy for them. When you think about a working mother, for example, they might have to leave their child at your centre where your team spend more waking hours with them than they do. To spend all of those hours away from their child at work can be tough. However, one story, one picture, that is thoughtfully created and shared through Storypark can make a huge difference, it can literally make their day. So when creating stories, try to always be mindful of the impact that story is making – you won’t often see it or hear it, but it is really important. In fact, we hear that some parents who may not have much to do with a centre at all will be highly engaged in every story that is sent. Here is a real-life example I heard the other day, a friend of mine called his wife to discuss how well their child was feeling when she dropped them off after analysing a picture that was posted in a story. So remember, every story, every post has an intrigued and engaged audience!
Building on the question of why stories are important, I think back on my own experiences as a parent with three children who went through years of care before they started school. I had no real idea of all of the educational programming that took place in their centres. While this might be partly my lack of curiosity, I also think it was a lost opportunity for my children’s educators not showcasing more of what they were doing. The incredible work done every day should be proudly celebrated and a simple way of doing so is to highlight this in your stories.
Additionally, when it comes to individual children’s development, linking to curriculum or ‘learning tags’ in Storypark is a powerful resource to share with families. In an independent PhD study done on the impact of Storypark in four centres showed that In terms of parent outcomes, Storypark impacted parents in four primary ways:
- Improved parents’ understanding of their children’s classroom learning.
- Improved parents’ understanding of the curriculum.
- Improved parent-child conversations about children’s learning.
- Improved parents’ engagement in their children’s learning.
“Parents can read links to curriculum and this changes the questions they ask at pick up and drop off. By enriching this conversation it strengthens the relationship between the parent and educator, as well as the outcomes for the child over time” says Peter Dixon, Storypark Co-Founder.
The other resources which parents appreciate in Storypark are integrated into the Families App experience. Storypark has an exclusive partnership with the Raising Children Network and provides links to their resources to families. This also enhances the appreciation and understanding families have of educators’ skills, experience and care for their child.
Observing children and sharing stories, conversations and community posts on Storypark are great ways of helping engage families, but perhaps even more powerful is collaborating with a parent on a plan for their child using Storypark’s planning tools.
“We have found the saved time we were taking in ensuring the planning cycle was communicated to everyone is now being used on more meaningful experiences.” (Kara, Centre Director)
Be creating an ‘all about me’ plan or individual development plan for a child their parents can not only be aware of but involved in the thinking behind what’s happening for their child. Parents can comment on plans, which link to stories and other content over time – showing a child’s development and the intentional work of educators.
Here are five things you can do to ensure parents get a great experience of your service and team using Storypark:
- Check the spelling of children’s names! This really does happen, where a child’s name is misspelt and if you put yourself in that parent’s shoes, it triggers all sorts of negative emotions.
- One of the biggest comments raised by parents is the inconsistency in terms of the frequency of stories. They might receive 3 one week and then none for 3 weeks. The best approach is to set some standards with your team and then share them with families, set their expectations correctly from the beginning. Of course, like any standard, it is important to measure performance which is easy enough to run some quick periodic audits in Storypark to check how regularly stories are posted in each room.
- On this note, when parents view a group story with a photo they zero in on their child, it’s like a tracking device. After a few group stories where every other child is included and not theirs, it becomes a problem where they might be wondering if their child is being included for example. So have some awareness or to ensure everyone gets included in photos throughout the course of a week. Using Storypark’s ‘Activity’ reports you can see how many individual and group stories a child has each week, and by filtering them you can see who has the most/least etc. From the family’s perspective, there is a big difference when they receive a group story as opposed to an individual story. It obviously takes more time to create individual stories, but there are some shortcuts to make it easier on educators. For example, you can duplicate a story, change it by 10% and include the child – easy! As individual stories are important to families, it’s best to create a standard and measure it. Quick periodic audits in Storypark to check how regularly families are having individual vs group stories is recommended.
- You have heard the phrase that a picture tells 1000 words, well parents are very heightened to how their child is looking in images. This is pretty obvious, but this should be the front of mind of all educators.
- Moving onto the words now, this is where better use of language and in particular some keywords is kinda good. Did you see what I did then? I used a poor choice of words ‘is kinda good’! Let’s try that again……..using better language has a profound effect on parents, it can instil pride in their child’s activities, and inspire a better impression of the educators. When describing activities and achievements, replacing basic words with more positive and dynamic language is the way to go. You might also wish to use the Encyclopedia of Early Childhood Development learning set in Storypark. This provides tags that link to things like brain development, so parents can dig deeper into these subjects by themselves.
If you’re wanting to try and check that these things are happening, you might want to use ‘story approval mode’ to check on the use of language and content for example for a new graduate joining your service, until you have educators where you want them to be. This might be something you use for newer users of Storypark so both of you can gain confidence in the stories they share and help them develop their skills.
As I mentioned earlier, communication is a key driver in family satisfaction and advocacy and Storypark is obviously used for more than just sharing stories. News, events, health notices or important announcements like a staff member leaving can be shared with parents using the Community tool. By sharing an ‘announcement’ you can ensure that all parents receive a notice to ensure they are aware of the important news.
Here is a different way to look at Storypark and CX. We talk a lot about walking in the customer’s shoes as a foundation in CX which is often complemented with another term; the customer journey. In early education, we can think about the parent’s journey from the time they become parents through until their child starts school and beyond. Storypark is designed to accompany the child through this journey so it can be a strong selling point to use through the enquiry and enrolment process. The family may well have been using Storypark before their enrolment, either on their own accord or at another service. So to tie this into the discussion you have with the prospective families is going to be an impressive feature to help impress and engage with the family. It also works at the other end of their journey with you, when they leave. They can take their learning journey with them to the next step in their child’s development.
Finally, while focusing our efforts on improving the impact of using Storypark with the families in mind, it is important to check that they are indeed using the app. Particularly for new families, there is a lot to take in which can be overwhelming. We recommend that you check in with families and provide assistance and support to ensure they have the app installed, they can navigate it well and are seeing all of their stories and announcements and also that other family members and carers are invited to follow the child’s learning journey. Apps are available on both iOS and Android.
Hopefully from these few tips, there are at least a couple of points that can help you improve the way you engage with families through Storypark. In doing so you are positively impacting the communication and the experiences of your families and improving your customer experience.
This blog post is the third in a series of family experience/customer experience resources designed to help you deliver the best possible experience and outcomes for families at your centre(s).
If you are interested in CX and want some more tips on how to improve it at your centre, then I encourage you to view our free 5 part video series.
If you’d like help improving your use of Storypark or want to get started you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of their friendly team will be in touch.
Get in touch with or learn more about how Sky Blue can help you improve your customers experience from Tom at Sky Blue Customer Experience Services https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomscantlebury/