The Importance of Customer Service

I’ve been reminded several times this week about the importance of customer service. Not only reminded, but been shocked to hear that my colleagues aren’t of the same mind. The voicemail system for the office has been broken for three days now, and our operations guy seems to be taking his sweet time to address it (I don’t like to judge other people’s workloads, but come on now. Shouldn’t that be a high priority issue?). The front counter staff is hardly ever told what’s going on, beyond occasionally being told that someone is out of the office for the day (but even that seems to only happen after they ask). When did the art of customer service die?

There have been numerous reports on the correlation between good customer service and loyalty. If I go into a store and the cashier is warm and friendly, I’m much more likely to return to that store. If she’s rude, I don’t want to put myself in that situation again. Why should I return somewhere that makes me unhappy?

The same concept applies to your nonprofit. The first person a donor or prospect speaks to is the person behind the front desk. Does that person know at least generally what is going on at your organization? Are they friendly and courteous? Most importantly, are they passionate about your cause?

Everyone the front counter staff speaks to is a potential donor. You don’t know someone’s capacity to give simply by looking at them. Therefore, everyone should be treated like a major donor. Everyone should be warmly welcomed, offered a glass of water, and given complete information about the organization. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a suit or jeans – everyone should be treated with great customer service.

Yelp perfectly highlights the importance of customer service. I know I didn’t choose my dentist without Yelping him first. My boyfriend didn’t return to his because he Yelped them after, and they had one star. We are becoming reliant on reviews, many of which are about customer service. While it might not be blatant, it’s affecting your customer base.

By the way, I received great customer service today from Ron’s Auto Clinic. I would definitely return to them if I weren’t moving! I recommend taking your car there!

-N.C.

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