Today, I walked into the post office frustrated, annoyed and promising never to use their services again. Five minutes later, I left feeling happy and I even bought a book of stamps. What happened?
Here’s the skinny. I placed an order online and missed the first delivery. USPS offers a redelivery option if you missed the first attempt. I completed the online request, waited for my package, and alas it wasn’t delivered. Instead of completing another online request, I called USPS, submitted another request, and guess what… my package never arrived. After several phone calls, I found out my package was not lost and if I wanted it I’d need to pick it up at the post office.
So, I hopped in the car and drove to the post office. When I walked in, I was greeted by a very nice postal service employee who listened to my story and retrieved my package. He apologized for the inconvenience and was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I’m classifying him in the “nicest ever” category, because I’m sure he has to deals with many frustrated customers and despite the angry people he seems to keep a positive attitude.
A few months ago, I was hosting a webinar and was asked “Have you had experience converting a participant who had a negative experience into a fundraiser the following year?” My experience with the postal service reminded me of this question and since we’re in the middle of spring event season it was worth revisiting.
When someone has a negative experience and they share this with you, it provides the opportunity to correct the situation. Try looking at a complaint as a chance to connect with the participant. Listen to their situation, apologize if necessary and do your best to solve the problem.
Never underestimate the power of good customer service. When a compliant is handled properly, the participant leaves happy and will probably forget -why- they had a negative experience. But, and this is most important, they will remember that they were treated with care.
For more about turning a negative into a positive, check out this post [defunct link removed].