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Atlanta-area schools learn customer service from Ritz Carlton

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When companies strive to provide the highest quality of service to their customers, schools are rarely considered part of that business mix. However, as more evidence shows the relationship between parental involvement in schools and student success, the need arises to make schools a warm and welcoming place to parents and students alike. In Atlanta, some schools are getting customer service training from a company that knows it best – the Ritz Carlton.

Customer Service Training for Georgia Schools
The new service training by Ritz Carlton is offered through the Georgia Department of Education’s Georgia Family-Friendly Partnership School Awards. The purpose of this program is to recognize Title I schools in the state that have made outstanding efforts to encourage parental involvement. School officials have made parental involvement a goal after studies have shown that students with involved parents perform better academically.

This year, four schools in the state won the Georgia Family-Friendly Partnership School Awards. Those schools were:

• Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy (Gainesville City Schools)
• Shiloh Middle School (Gwinnet County Schools)
• St. Simons Elementary School (Glynn County Schools)
• Woodstock Elementary School (Cherokee County Schools)

These schools were recognized for their efforts in making parents feel welcome and soliciting their involvement throughout the school year.

Rewards from Ritz Carlton
To reward those schools for their efforts, Ritz Carlton put together a training module, titled, “Mastering the Basics of Service Excellence.” Schools also received materials through the Succeed through Service tool kit offered by the hotel. The training module included the following topics:

• Setting the Stage
• Workplace Manners
• General Service Principles
• Showing Appreciation to all Stakeholders

The principals and support staff from all four of the schools were invited to participate in a full-day training session, held at two Ritz Carlton locations in Atlanta. The company donated food and rooms to the educators, as well as a meeting location for the training sessions. Educators learned how to “roll out the red carpet” for parents, using tried and true techniques used by this top hotel chain.

“There’s that old adage of actions speak louder than words,” Michelle Sandrock, overseer of the state’s parent engagement program, told The Tennessean. “It’s one thing to have someone say ‘thank you’, but it’s another to have someone stop what they are doing, come over and clap for you.”

Applause is exactly what educators were greeted to by Ritz Carlton employees that participated in the training. The company uses the “Wall of Applause” to show appreciation. Appreciation was the central theme of the training sessions offered to Georgia educators.

Georgia educators are striving to learn how to roll out the red carpet to their parents as well. With the success of the initial training program to these select schools, Ritz Carlton is now hoping to expand access to training to all schools via its website.

“When you think about the Ritz Carlton, you think about them rolling out the red carpet,” Sandrock explained. “There are a lot of parallels between what we were doing and what the Ritz has been showing us is worthwhile to do.”

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