A Wake-Up Call
When Juan Cabrera was named superintendent at El Paso ISD, he and his wife went to a district elementary school to enroll their youngest child. They went into the school without an appointment and the school secretary—unaware of who Mr. Cabrera was—turned them away rather than allowing them to see the school principal. After they left, the secretary passed Mr. Cabrera’s information on to the principal who immediately recognized the name of the incoming superintendent and quickly raced out to the parking lot to invite them back in to tour the school.

For Mr. Cabrera and Melissa Martinez, chief communications officer at El Paso ISD, the story was a wake-up call. In a district facing stiff school competition, the experiences and perceptions of students and parents couldn’t be taken for granted.

The team at El Paso has made customer experience a priority–-partnering with K12 Insight to implement customer experience workshops aimed at changing district culture around customer service and using Let’s Talk! to track key metrics around customer experience. At the Council of the Great City Schools 63rd annual Fall Conference, Cabrera shared EPISD’s journey to building a strong customer experience, challenged other districts to assess the service they provide, and offered advice to other districts looking to do the same.

Juan Cabrera
El Paso ISD (TX)


Melissa Martinez
Chief Communications Officer
El Paso ISD (TX)

Customer Experience (Cx) Workshops in El Paso ISD
To solidify a culture of customer experience in their schools, El Paso ISD partnered with K12 Insight for a new, innovative form of professional development training. Rather than traditional, “sit and get” professional development sessions, K12 Insight’s workshops aim to create a team mentality around customer experience by encouraging participants to move around the room, ask important questions, and work together.

While implementing a customer experience culture is a long-term initiative, Martinez says she’s already seeing positive signs among her staff.

“We’ve seen the change already,” she says. Staff used to push back on scheduling campus visits for potential families, but since the training, “it’s a much more welcoming environment. Everybody understands now that we want to have that sense of open-door policy.”

Want to learn more about the journey to improving the customer experience at EPISD? Check out this webinar.

El Paso ISD’s Let’s Talk! Implementation
EPISD uses Let’s Talk!, a cloud-based customer experience solution, to make it easy for students, parents, employees, and community members to reach the right person–every time–and receive a thoughtful, timely response. On the back end, the EPISD can measure progress, track key metrics and trends, and continue improving the customer experience.

EPISD’s home page includes a Let’s Talk! Contact Us pop-out tab that makes it easy for students, parents, employees, and community members to reach out about whatever is on their mind and get a response from the right person–every time.

A Let’s Talk! landing page on the Community Engagement department’s webpage provides quick access points to hot topics, departments, schools, and more.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee:
Effective communication strategies in education


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Key takeaways from Cabrera: 

  • Customer Experience (Cx) should be a priority
  • Communication is not the same as customer service
  • There are 3 tests to determine if your district has rigor and intentionality
  • Do not underestimate what it will take to do it; start small and intentionally grow it
  • Cabrera speaks about professional development (PD) for Cx and notes that this is a specialized PD topic that should be conducted by someone with experience
  • EPISD has had fewer issues crop up since implementing Let’s Talk!

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