Thursday, March 24, 2011

BIG’s Blog: Is Customer Service Important?

I read blogs too and some that I read are even written for the nonprofit fund raising world. One that I follow is The Agitator.

Last week, Tom asked the above question, “Is Customer Service Important?” This was based upon the publishing of some research conducted by Harris Interactive entitled: The Retail Consumer Report which surveyed individuals who made online purchases during the Christmas season.

Tom had some interesting “takes” on the report vis-à-vis underscoring the importance of communicating with disgruntled customers and drew comparisons to how nonprofit organizations should think about interacting with donors and members.

However, I want to ask a more basic question that really gets to the heart of how you and your organization look at your donors. "Do you look at your donors as ATMs or friends?"

REALLY a big difference, isn’t it? For instance, buried in your donor file are your bothers, sisters, other relatives and friends. If they called in, first, would you want to know about the call and second, would you want to know how they were treated? Of course you would and that’s the crux of my question.

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit, the online retailer. Zappos has no retail stores so the only way for you to connect with them is to go to their Web site or call their 800 number and talk to a live person in customer service.

Zappos understands that they can advertise to get your attention and make their Web site the easiest and most convenient to use, but if there is a problem...or even a question...your entire perception of Zappos comes down to the Zappos person taking your call.

Literally everything that Zappos does as a company comes down to that call. I’ll be writing more about Zappos in future blogs, but for today, let’s just center our attention on how focused Zappos is on making certain that their customers or prospective customers are happy and satisfied before they hang up.

Zappos treats everybody that calls like their best exceptions. Zappos representatives are taught to do whatever it takes to make the customer happy and satisfied. When you call Zappos, it is not about making money, it’s about making friends. By the way, this customer centered philosophy took them from zero sales to a billion dollars in sales in less than eight years.

Today or tomorrow, go sit near your donor services area that takes calls from donors and listen. ATMs or friends?


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