Roll Out the Red Carpet

Rolling out the red carpet implies that there will be someone famous or a celebrity who will soon be walking through the entrance to a special event on a special occasion–like the upcoming Grammy’s on February 13.

Donna Cutting, in her book The Celebrity Experience, suggests that we need to roll out the red carpet for our customers (

In your context, you need to roll out the red carpet for your parents and students (because it’s ultimately about your student’s educational experience!).

This doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to have a red carpet on your sidewalk leading up to the office door (although one school I was working with considered this idea).

What this concept does mean is that your parents and students are the most important customers in your schools. You must do everything you can to provide outstanding service and create a memorable experience for them.

So how can you do this? Consider these ideas:

  • Challenge faculty to send positive notes to parents about their child (rather than just sending out messages when the child is in trouble or is not doing well academically).
  • Treat everyone that walks through your door or calls your office with immediate priority and service. The way you respond and how you treat them will go a long way in how they feel about your school.
  • The Head of School can personally deliver birthday cards to students on their special day. Also, the head of School should send a birthday card to parentsAfter all, everyone wants to be treated in a special way on their special day!
  • Send a personal note to a parent after they re-enroll thanking them for their continued commitment to the school and communicate how important they are to the community. Include a thank-you gift like school-branded magnet for their car or refrigerator.
  • Change your voice message daily or weekly to say something like: “Thank you for your call. Today is Thursday, February 3rd, and I have several meetings on my schedule. However, your call is very important to me and I will get back to you today or before noon tomorrow.
  • Do something unexpected and special for your students on Valentine’s Day. The administration could personally deliver chocolate hearts to the students with a special message that says, “We love having you as a student at our school.”
  • While we are on the subject of chocolate, give your faculty and staff a “Pay Day” candy bar on payday with a card thanking them for investing in the mission of the school through their dedicated service.
  • Greet your parents in car line and give them a school-branded mug with a special note inviting them to one of your upcoming small group coffee events.

This list barely scratches the surface for what you can do to roll out the red carpet for your parents and students. Go ahead, brainstorm your own list and work on implementing your ideas.

When you roll out the red carpet, it will make a difference and create incredible buzz for your school.

2 Responses to Roll Out the Red Carpet

  1. Hey Rick,

    Thanks for the shout out and mention of The Celebrity Experience. You’ve listed some wonderful ideas here that schools can use to roll out the red carpet for their students and other customers.

    • ricknewberry says:

      Thanks Donna! You book has been a great tool that I have shared with many school administrators across the country. It is the primary book of ideas on customer service that I recommend. Your insights and ideas resonate with school administrators who need to provide outstanding customer service and create memorable moments for their parents and students. We should sometime about how you could have greater exposure to the school market. By the way, I also live in St. Petersburg, FL.

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