"I see a future where every school district and every charter school will have a Head of Customer Success, responsible to keep their families and students happy. But then also a Head of Growth that's responsible to continue to nurture the new families as they're coming to the city and then educate them on how your school is much more differentiated and much better than other schools in the area." - Jinal Jhaveri
Our guest today is Jinal Jhaveri. Jinal is the co-founder and Chairman of Schoolmint, a venture partner at Runa Capital and also a co-founder and CEO at enable.us.
In this episode, we talk about Jinal's lessons growing Schoolmint, how he channeled the tailwinds of the school choice movement, and what his experience can offer for schools today.
Listen and take note of Jinal's obsessive focus on the Customer, how you should continuously be trying to delight and really understand who you are serving.
Some thoughts :
We had a great chat with Jinal about product-market-fit and customer success in K12 education.
The main thing that stuck with me from his years building SchoolMint: his unrelenting obsession with customers.
Jinal talked about Superhuman, the expensive email app. How do they manage to charge $35 per month when Gmail is free? A lesson from their journey: Forget who you think your school is for. Segment your customer base to find pockets of better Product-Market Fit. 50% more families changed school this year than previous years. Lots of new families to poll!
But it's very hard to stay with this hunt for PMF. Will school admins have the grit, perseverance, the skills to do this?
Here is John Danner's take on PMF:
School choice is accelerating, more students moving every year, parents shopping around, unbundling their learning plans across multiple education providers. This will be a necessary skill for schools.
We discussed Customer Success and Growth roles appearing in more and more schools; ambassador programs; the Ideal Customer Persona is the Portrait of A Graduate by Battelle for kids.
Quoting Jinal: "How can we grow? How can you scale word of mouth? How can you ask your families to become the champion? How can you increase awareness of your brand? How can you continue to nurture these families?"
Some quotes from our discussion:
10:09 - One of my favorite things is the jobs to be done framework. Really, really understand who you are serving and what is their job and what's going to make them succeed and see what are the things in that list that your product can help them get there. I still joke around, but every weekend, my favorite thing to do first, see who is using SchoolMint and then what are the other things they do? And how can we as a company, we, as a product, help them do those things more efficiently. So we continue to add those functionalities that can then help some of our customers to focus on other things, other things that didn't require a lot of manual work, we took over all of those things and added them to the product, added additional insights and things like that.
14:43 - Schools already have happy families that are sending their kids there, and trusting the schools with the careers of these students. If they want to really grow, then they need a very, very happy base of customers, in this case these are families and students. In a traditional SaaS company, there would be a Customer Success function which is responsible for keeping the customers happy and then continue to grow within that customer base. I think schools, at this stage, need a function like that. I've seen some progressive school districts doing that. We're also seeing there's more and more awareness around it, but basically a Head of Customer Success or someone whose team is responsible to continue to retain these families and these students, delight them, making sure they succeed, because if they are going to succeed that they're going to continue to become the word of mouth champion for the school.
16:30 - How can we grow? How can you scale word of mouth? How can you ask your families to become the champion? How can you increase awareness of your brand? How can you continue to nurture these families? Inviting them to the school, educating them on why your school is better than any other school and all the good stuff that has already happened in other industries in the marketing and sales side. I see a future where every school district and every charter school will have a Head of Customer Success, responsible to keep their families and students happy. But then also a Head of Growth that's responsible to continue to nurture the new families as they're coming to the city and then educate them on how your school is much more differentiated and much better than other schools in the area.
29:10 - Based on what I'm seeing since COVID, because of what happened, families that were doing virtual schooling, now already know there are other options that are available to them. It's not the school within the school district that you're competing with or within your city. Now you're also competing with virtual schools. You are competing with families staying remotely. And so I would say some districts and some CMOs are already thinking about having roles that are focused on on customer delight or parent and student delight. Others are catching up.
Here are some resources mentioned in our discussion:
- A previous podcast appearance Jinal made: https://www.fundraisingradio.com/acquired-by-bv-investment-partners-founder-of-schoolmint-jinal-jhaveri-shares-his-experience-of-getting-acquired/
- How to design a Portrait of A Graduate: https://portraitofagraduate.org
- How Superhuman Built an Engine to Find Product/Market Fit - https://review.firstround.com/how-superhuman-built-an-engine-to-find-product-market-fit
Where to learn more about the guest:
- Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jhaveri/
- Jinal's request for pre-K–12 ed-tech startups - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/request-pre-k12-ed-tech-startups-helping-distance-learning-jhaveri/
Where to learn more about Enrollhand:
Our webinar: https://webinar-replay.enrollhand.com
Our free Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/schoolgrowth/