Newsweek Names Lightbridge Academy as One of America’s Best Customer Service Companies in 2021

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The early education and child care franchise was ranked on the list’s Child Care Services category.

Lightbridge Academy, an early education and child care franchise with more than 50 locations open across the Mid-Atlantic and another 50 under construction or in development, has taken top honors on Newsweek-Statista's ranking of America's Best Customer Service Brands of 2021.

Newsweek and Statista identified America’s Best Customer Service brands based on an independent survey of more than 25,000 U.S. customers who have either made purchases, used services or gathered information about products or services in the past three years. Customers were asked whether they would recommend brands to friends or family and to assess brands in the following areas: quality of communications, professional competence, range of services, customer focus and accessibility. The results provided information about brick-and-mortar as well as online retailers and service providers from 160 categories, spanning a broad spectrum of customer experiences. The final list recognizes the top three to five brands in each category. For each category, the most relevant brands were included in the scope of the survey according to reputation, turnover or market share. The final assessment and rankings were based on the Net Promoter Score (50% of the final score) and the five evaluation criteria (also 50% of the final score).

“Lightbridge Academy was built on a foundation of family values,” said President Gigi Schweikert. “It is a place where parents, children and staff members, as well as the community and franchise owners, come together as a family to create a trusted Circle of Care. The Net Promoter Score measures the level of loyalty we have built with the families in our centers. Our current score is 82, which is better than 90% of companies in the child care sector. It helps to confirm that we are building the high care culture that we work so hard to create.”

Lightbridge Academy cites their Circle of Care philosophy as the foundational in achieving such a high score in the Child Care Services category. It places equal importance on the needs of children, their families, the staff, franchise owners and the local community.

“You cannot provide a high level of customer service or build customer loyalty without first caring for your staff,” said Schweikert. “It truly is all interconnected. We know that our employees are integral to building a nurturing learning environment. That is why everyone in the Lightbridge Academy Circle of Care must be understood and considered in any major decision. It creates a culture of care and trust needed to deliver on our brand’s promise and is key to the overall success of the company.”

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Schweikert notes that customer service has become more important than ever. “True customer service is about understanding what that person needs and then meeting that need,” she said. “If it wasn’t stressful enough being a parent of a young child, COVID-19 has brought that stress to a new level. As The Solution for Working Parents®, we know that, more than ever, a child care center needs to care for parents too. They have entrusted us with a great responsibility to educate their precious children in a safe and nurturing environment, and we take this very seriously.”

To support parents during this time, the brand has rolled out the Lightbridge Promise, which reinforces the company’s top priority to ensure the health and safety of all of those in their Circle of Care. A major step was the system-wide center installation of an air purification and filtration system using an advanced oxidation process to continuously purify the air and all surfaces. Since some state regulations prohibit parents from dropping off children inside the building, Lightbridge Academy has also leveraged technology to keep parents connected, create transparency and enhance communication. Every Lightbridge Academy center is equipped with cameras that provide parents with real-time access via the internet, as well as a parent eCommunication app to send updates, videos and pictures. From coded entry to silent alarms to internal video monitoring and limited points of entry, Lightbridge Academy’s security system and emergency drills are also some of the most advanced in the child care industry. These protocols give parents the peace of mind they need to go to work during these challenging times.

Although many of these protocols were already in place, the enhancements and new technology included in the Lightbridge Promise were implemented after a survey revealed that over 80% of parents were most concerned about health and safety when returning to child care. This is a prime example of how Lightbridge Academy values the opinion and feedback of its customers.

“Being included in Newsweek’s 2021 list of America’s Best Customer Service Companies is a wonderful recognition for the hardworking and dedicated administrative team, teachers and caregivers providing essential child care services at a very high level, even during some of the most challenging times in our company’s history,” said Schweikert. “We couldn’t be prouder of their accomplishments.”

About Lightbridge Academy®
Established in 1997, Guy and Julia Falzarano founded the company based on core values and a Circle of Care philosophy that places equal importance on the needs of children, their families, teachers, center owners and the community. Lightbridge Academy provides early education and child care to children ages six weeks through kindergarten, as well as special programming for children up to 10 years old for summer camp and a new school age remote learning program. The company franchised in 2011 to expand their distinctive concept throughout the Mid-Atlantic region; it currently has over 119 child care centers either open, under construction or in development throughout Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia.

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Lauren Turner
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