When Good Service Whispers, People Listen

in Cultivation & Stewardship,Marketing for Nonprofits

Whisper to be heard

Donors and members respond to exceptional service ... even gentle whispers of kindness

Try to recall that TV commercial years back with the core message of, “When E.F. Hutton talks; people listen.

And as soon as the E.F. Hutton rep began to speak, even quite softly, everyone stopped what they were doing and strained to hear what was being said.

Well, that’s what came to mind when I read Seth Godin’s post, “Speaking when they care (reorganizing the economics and attitude of customer service).”

He states that customer service reps can whisper and be heard; whereas advertisers struggle to be heard through the noise.

This is because so few organizations – be they for-profit or nonprofit – have exceptional customer service.  Hmm, or even “good” service for that matter.

Therefore, when you treat people exceptionally … when you give outstanding service … your organization stands out and easily gets noticed.

You won’t have to shout or bombard supporters with tons of messages to get noticed. Just be nice every step of the way. A gentle touch; a soft whisper will shine brightly through the fog of indifference.

It’s a sad fact, but courtesy is no longer prevalent in our society. This is true in one-on-one encounters as well as our interactions with organizations. So again, it’s easy to stand out.

Why should you make the effort to give supporters exceptional service – an exceptional experience with your nonprofit?

Because it can help you raise more money. You’ll acquire and retain more donors and members. Deeper loyalty. Your supporters will brag about you to their networks. You’ll create an army of advocates for your cause and reach prospects that until now were all but impossible to connect with.

It doesn’t happen magically. You’ll need to work at it and keep working at it. For example: Evaluate every touch point with your donors and members.

Are you training your call center staff in common courtesy? In gracious sales techniques to get additional donations? How do you follow-up each call?

Are you training every single employee on how to answer the phone with clarity and politeness? To give the impression that they really do care instead of being annoyed with the interruption?

Are you responding to every online and phone inquiry rapidly? And are you taking time to think about the question so you actually answer it?

I can’t tell you how many times I get email replies that never answer my question. The person read it so quickly they assumed they knew what I wanted before reading more than the first sentence. Oh, and it’s pretty easy to spot “canned” answers too. Make time to respond personally. Look up the supporter’s history and “personalize” the response as you answer their question.

An oldie but goodie: How prompt are you with acknowledgement letters? How personalized and tailored are they?

How EASY do you make it for donors and members to respond, donate, contact you (e.g., a real person), to find information on your website, etc.?

Do you give choices on how they pay? And are your forms well organized, easy to read, and easy to understand by someone OUTSIDE your organization?

What’s the tone of your letters, emails, and web copy?

And so on.

As Godin says, “Investing in delight via customer service is cheap to experiment with and easy to prove. Just siphon off 1% of your calls to a trained person who actually cares and wants to help–and see what happens to customer satisfaction and word of mouth.

I recommend you read his post. His examples may give you more ideas on how to improve the experience supporters have with your nonprofit with every interaction. Every social media engagement. Every email. Every direct mail letter. Every page of web copy. Telephone calls. Special events. Registration and payment processes. Etc.

There are countless opportunities to give your donors and members exceptional service. And it’s worth doing if you want to raise more money. If you really care. Any examples of exceptional nonprofit service you can share in the comments box below?

Related posts:

Compassionate service to your donors and members

What are they saying behind your back?

Because YOU care and supporters need to know you care

———–

Photo by Ed Yourdon