In a digital world that is changing faster than ever, I never cease to be amazed at the power of the simple, seemingly small things that endure – such as a “thank you.” As a communications professional, this shouldn’t be a surprise to me. I understand very clearly our dual purpose: we must always produce accurate, authentic, and error-free material; and we must always strive to serve our constituents in a timely, courteous manner, going beyond just solving their problem. I believe each small customer experience with the Academy’s Communications Office staff is a reflection of the entire brand experience, and we strive to make it memorable and positive.
Just because we work in a school doesn’t mean we see our purpose in this “business” any differently, nor does it mean attention to the small things is any less effective. For example, last year the Communications Office decided to change the NewsMagazine distribution process to be more customer-focused. This biannual, 36-page publication represents current students and their parents, alumni and their families, trustees, faculty and staff, corporate friends, and friends at large through a collection of thematic content. It is the only publication that reaches our entire audience, and on-going feedback confirms that people love it. But we questioned ourselves last winter: “How can we take something good and make it great? How can we better leverage this piece and the feel-good customer experience it evokes?”
And we realized, the simple solution was in front of us all along. In fact, we probably discovered this solution when we, ourselves, were in 2nd grade — we started writing personal thank yous to everyone included in the magazine, accompanied with several extra copies mailed to their homes. Time-consuming? Yes. But worth it? No doubt.
This exercise reminded me again that those of us in the digital world are still appreciative of the little things… so appreciative, in fact, that 15 percent of you who received my thank yous have taken the time to contact me to thank me for the thank you. Really! You’re sharing extra magazines with grandparents and neighbors, framing them for your homes, and carefully storing them in your children’s memory boxes. Most importantly, you feel valued.
I believe this is the kind of service the Academy community should expect from us as a small school — and we are delighted to provide it to you. Thank YOU for your thank yous!