Think of the last time you had a poor customer service experience. Perhaps it was at the grocery store, at an airport, or in a telephone conversation. Recall your frustration in trying to have your concerns heard, then acted upon to your satisfaction. Get back into that mental state of frustration and think about what it would have taken to turn around the situation. There usually is something that someone could have said or done to make it alright.

As customers, we don’t want to be unhappy. We want to find suppliers and vendors we can use with confidence, over and over again. We are looking to be loyal.

Next, recall an exceptional customer service experience—one where they got it just right! What made that experience so positive? Odds are you’re thinking: they listened to me, they were honest with me, they acted like they truly cared, they took decisive and timely action, they made me feel appreciated, they made me feel special.

The bottom line in outstanding customer service—including those excellent examples of winning us back after a messy situation—is that we are left feeling special. Never mind that there are over seven billion of us on the planet. We don’t want to hear that we are the fortieth customer who has called in with the same complaint today; we want to feel that our complaint is special and that the person handling it is committed to our complete satisfaction—whatever that may look like.

It’s no different with our donors. We’ve got to let them know from the very first contact that they are special to us—not just a number or name on a mailing list.

Are you taking the time to truly listen to your donors and to treat them with the dignity and respect you expect as a loyal customer?

For tips on how to deeply engage individuals in the broader community who can in turn engage others and perhaps become your next board members, register for my upcoming Bloomerang webinar!

Terry Axelrod

Terry Axelrod

Founder and CEO at Benevon
Terry Axelrod, founder and CEO of Benevon, has more than 30 years’ experience in the nonprofit field. She created the Benevon Model after serving as the first development director at a private inner-city school, where she designed and implemented the fundraising programs that yielded $7.2 million in two years and a significant endowment. Over the past 20 years, Benevon has trained more than 5,000 nonprofit teams to customize this systematic process for building sustainable funding.