Customer service makes the difference | npENGAGE

Customer service makes the difference

By on May 20, 2011


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].



Amy Braiterman, principal strategy consultant at Blackbaud, supports customers with their peer-to-peer fundraising events with a process she refers to as “data-driven strategy.” Amy’s data driven strategy analyzes how effective event participants are using online fundraising tools and takes those results to develop an event fundraising plan. Prior to joining Blackbaud, Amy earned her fundraising stripes managing events for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Alzheimer’s Association and Share Our Strength. She shares her fundraising know how here on npENGAGE, by hosting educational webinars and speaking at customer conferences

Comments (1)

  • Great post! Customer Service is imperative in the nonprofit sector when you depend on donor relations and rapport with foundations to grow your funding and your organization. When it comes to staffing positions from the one who answers the phones to the director of development, consider how important a positive attitude, a prompt response, and acknowledgment play into individual donations, planned or workplace giving, or even major gifts. Follow @ProfNPDC to see more nprofit market trends and upcoming job opportunities.

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