You don’t want to wait until the next parent-teacher conference to let parents know how their child is doing in school. Apart from face-to-face meetings, making calls to parents is the best way to have these conversations.
There are challenges to take note of here, however.
Phone calls to parents are often marked by the tediousness of manually going through a list of phone numbers and dialing them individually.
Here’s how adopting a calling software can make school-parent communication easier.
Why schools should use calling software
A cloud calling software for schools lets you negate much of the stress and uncertainty associated with making calls to parents.
They let you avoid manual effort
Manually dialing phone numbers can take up a chunk of your time (a precious resource for teachers and administrators) that is better dedicated to actually having conversations with parents. Not to mention, it’s a hassle to keep track of how each conversation went and whether you have reached out to every parent on your list.
With a calling software like CallHub, you can completely automate the dialing process by choosing a dialer, and focus on the conversation at hand. In addition, any data that you need to collect can be entered and saved on the software.
They help you stay on track with personalized scripts
We can all agree that calling someone by the wrong name, or referring to the wrong child is a faux pas best avoided. Unfortunately, it’s all too likely when you’re juggling between multiple documents during a conversation.
Using a calling software, you can enter a script to be displayed on your screen during the conversation (Note: a script doesn’t have to be followed to the letter. It might just be something teachers use for reference as they are talking). Scripts can be personalized to display information related to the person that you are talking to.
They allow you to avoid using your personal phone number
Some educators might want to avoid being called outside of school hours by parents looking for updates about their children. If you are using your personal phone number to make calls to parents, this is all too likely.
With calling software, you can rent phone numbers for your campaigns and avoid having to use your personal number.
Let’s move on to the best situations to make calls.
School Calling use cases
Phone calls are best suited for cases where,
- You need to have conversations with parents (Outbound call center)
Talk to parents about student performance
This is something we touched on early in this article. Making calls to parents to talk about their children’s performance will reassure them, and help you build relationships in the long run.
Soliciting someone to donate is a big ask. Using a channel like phone calls lets people (be it parents, alumni, or locals) know that you are making an effort to communicate with them.
- You need to send an alert with the maximum possibility of being heard (Voice broadcast software)
Notify parents about absent students
Send a voice broadcast to parents of students who are absent. Other options would be to send a text alert, or the student’s homeroom teacher calling parents individually.
School closing or event cancellations
Early mornings are a quiet rush, with a lot on parents’ plates. I.e., Getting kids ready for school, shepherding them to the bus stop and setting off for the work commute. Where most other modes of communication might be missed in the chaos, voice messages come through.
Wake up calls/Other reminders
Set up an optional voice message to go out to students in the morning. This will help students who tend to be tardy get to school on time.
You could also use voice broadcasts to remind students or parents about tuition fees, assignments or project deadlines.
Here’s how you can start using calling campaigns and voice broadcasts.
Conversations and Fundraising through Call Center campaigns
Call center campaigns let you upload a contact list, add agents (teachers/administrators), and start making automated calls to the list.
In addition to what we discussed above, Call center campaigns in CallHub let you:
- Add survey questions for teachers to fill up during calls.
- Add call dispositions to contacts based on how the conversation went.
- Send follow-up texts to contacts from the agent interface.
Once you have your list of contacts sorted, it takes no time at all to set up a campaign and get started.
Setting up a calling campaign
|1. Create campaign|
Create a call center campaign and choose your phonebook.
|3. Add your script|
Personalize call scripts by using custom fields.
|3. Add agents|
Add the agents who are going to talk to your contacts
|4. Set operating hours|
Agents cannot make calls outside the times you set
Get a detailed look at the options you have when setting up a calling campaign with CallHub here.
Best practices for calls to parents
Some things to be aware of, especially if you are talking about students.
Start on a positive note
Not all conversations with parents about their child’s performance need to be negative. If that is the case, then this shouldn’t be a problem. If you do need to touch on negative topics during a conversation, start off by pointing out the child’s positive qualities.
Describe actions, not character
Having an honest conversation about what students can do better, and actually seeing results from those conversations means approaching the conversation in an impersonal manner.
Parents are often unsure about how they can contribute to their child’s education. Build a team dynamic by asking parents for suggestions, and helping them build a plan for homework, assignment, etc.
Surveys and alerts through Voice Broadcasts
A voice broadcast sends a message to all the contacts you have on your list, without the need for human intervention.
You can schedule a voice broadcast to go out in advance, making it easier to plan your communication strategy.
With press-1 campaigns, you can even conduct automated surveys to parents. Learn more about that here.
Setting up a voice broadcast campaign
|1. Create campaign|
Create a voice broadcast campaign and choose your phonebook.
|2. Add your audio|
You can upload an audio recording or use the text-to-speech option
|3. Set dialer settings|
Set call frequency and retries.
|4. Set campaign timing|
Calls will not be made outside the times you set.
Voice broadcast best practices
Keep the message brief
Keep your message short and simple. The longer your message, the more likely it is for someone to hang up.
Enable Answering Machine Detection
In case your contact doesn’t pick up, you can leave a voicemail on their phone.
Use a human voice recording
CallHub allows you to convert text-to-speech, but it’s still a good idea to use a voice recording whenever you can.
Learn more about setting up a voice broadcast campaign with CallHub here.
A school-calling software can add tremendous value to your school’s outreach strategy. If you’re interested in CallHub’s calling tools, try them out by signing up. Our pricing plans give you plenty of flexibility if you’re on a budget.