Thursday, April 8, 2010

Service After The Sale

Many nonprofits might want to take a moment to look around at their for profit counterparts and see if there are lessons they might learn from their business model. It is unfortunate that the vast majority of nonprofit executive directors have little experience in the for profit world because with that additional experience they might view their responsibility and how to approach donors differently.

People in the car industry are constantly trying to come up with new ideas and incentives to sell you a car. However, most also put a great deal of focus on servicing that vehicle after the sell. They want to keep you coming back to the dealership.

All realtors want to sell you a house, but after the sale they seem to still stay in touch from time to time sending you a calendar you may or may not want or drop you a postcard about the houses that recently sold in your neighborhood. You ever wonder why? Well, you have heard of out the phrase "out of sight, out of mind" right? Well, they don't want to be forgotten.

Have you ever been in a situation when you arrange with someone providing a service you need when the following steps were followed: First they met with you when it is convenient for you to meet. Second you both agreed what needed to be done. Third they scheduled a time to provide the service that was outlined. Fourth they did the service at the time they said they would and at or below the price agreed on in advance. Lastly, they followed up after the service was complete to see if it was satisfactory and met your approval. Also to see if there was anything else that needed to be done or was overlooked.

Now while the above outline might not be an exact match to how you should operate your nonprofit or deal with your donor you can see by using this method of delivery how the focus is on the customer, always!

What Not To Do!

People that go to the post office daily to pick up mail occasionally find that dreaded slip in their box letting them know a package awaits at the window. With this discovery that means standing in line to be served. A few years back under the guise of standardization the post office came up with the:

USPS Strategic Transformation Plan 2006-2010

Now forgive me for being critical because I realize at the time of the publication the post office I think was trying to "standardize" approximately 37,000 retail locations, but seriously are you telling me it takes five years to do this? I just can't help but wonder if Domino's Pizza or FedEx decided to make this project on how long it would take them?

Regardless, on page 60 you will read "The Postal Service recognizes that customers form expectations on critical attributes such as waiting time in line based on their experience with other similar services, and compare Postal Service performance to best-in-class providers." Really, you think? So one solution to improve customer service, remove all the clocks.

Now the only other place that I know that has done, but for an obviously different reason are the casinos in Las Vegas.

So, if people stand in line and can't see a clock they will be less frustrated. Oh yea, that is logical.

Finally, I hope one take away for your nonprofit in all this is for you to consider this question: How are we focusing on our donor?

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