Archive for Thursday, October 29, 2009

Online pay system to improve customer service

October 29, 2009

De Soto USD 232 has been working hard this year to be more customer friendly with patrons and community members.

Uploading check journals and posting board packets online are just a few of the ways the district has reached out to patrons.

Now, the district is working on creating an online system so families can easily pay lunch fees and other school-related fees from the comfort of their own homes.

Jeff Mildner, district director of technology, said the district began creating the online system after patrons showed interest in on online pay option.

“Patrons will have the convenience of paying online rather than sending checks or cash to school,” Mildner said in an e-mail. “Students’ accounts can be populated more quickly and efficiently.”

The new system also will allow district staff more time to focus on other areas of work.

“District staff will have less cash and checks to handle and will spend less time dealing directly with bank deposits,” he said.

The system will allow patrons to pay with either an online check or credit or debit card for a fee.

The use of an online check will cost a patron $1 per transaction, while the use of credit or debit cards cost $1.50 per transaction. The transaction fees will pay for the system’s installation and upkeep costs, Mildner said.

Alvie Cater, director of communications, said the district was in the process of testing the system.

“We hope to have it up and running on Jan. 1,” he said. “A lot of families do service online; it’s a convenience to parents and will save time and resources. They will be able to use credit cards, which gives more financial options.”

However, the system is only an option, patrons are not required to use it, Cater said.

The online pay system is a customer service initiative the district began as part of efforts to continuously improve.

“We have a renewed customer focus. A key component is customer service. We want to focus on who we serve and ask what do we do and for whom do we do it,” Cater said.

Tammy Thomas, USD 232 Board of Education vice president, said increasing transparency with the community was a great idea.

“Those are examples of what we are doing with continuous improvement in our district.”

Cater said the board and district were trying to build trust with the USD 232 community.

“Transparency builds trust,” he said. “This is the main reason the board is embarking on this endeavor. We want to build trust.”

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