Have you experienced the kind of service that sticks with you, the kind that leaves you bragging about the interaction with others? The kind of service that puts a smile on your face or makes your day?
Customer service shouldn’t be undervalued. The personal relationships built by providing exceptional service can become an integral part of any purchase decision. At Foundant, we especially understand this and focus our culture around the idea that the client always comes first. . . and we have seen first hand the relationships that form as a result.
This is especially true in the relationships cultivated in the philanthropic sector.
“The strongest relationships we have, have been cultivated over the years - with excellent customer service through friendly, helpful phone calls, visits, and attendance when possible at their events to show interest and support for their programs. They make us successful so we want them to be successful.”
-Cindy Wang, Idaho Humanities
“I have a very strong relationship with our grantees because I reply to them within one work day, let them know there are no stupid questions, and have a friendly disposition with them. We also host a community resource connection meeting monthly, so I know most of them by face as well, which helps to be more approachable.”
-Deb Callies, City of Loveland
“We are actually currently brainstorming on more of a "systematized" way of building relationships with grantees. So more strategic (still being somewhat organic), but identifying the folks doing the key work we want to amplify in the community to make systemic change (ultimate goal). But how do you do that? That's the million dollar question. We've started just with responsiveness - if someone reaches out, we want someone on staff to be able to respond timely.”
-Elyse Pollick Brynes, York County Community Foundation
The kind of customer service that changes the world isn't a fancy formula but as simple as being ready and willing to assist. It is providing more than just an answer - by engaging and living up to the culture of creating a personalized relationship.
With the increase in technology and the fundamental changes in the way we communicate, there has been an increased importance to actively engage with others. A simple phone call can be the ticket to an engaged exchange. This is true in all sectors, all organizations, and all types of interactions whether it is business related or personal.
Answering the phone is easy, answering a question is easy. But exceptional customer service, the kind we push to provide here at Foundant, is more. It is investing in our clients by taking the time that is needed to not only answer the question but to find ways to leave them a little better off than when we first engaged with them. It is picking up the phone with a smile, and being excited about the interaction we GET to have with each and every client, not the phone call we have to have.
This kind of service allows you to differentiate yourself in an unconventional and innovative way.
And this doesn't just apply to organizations, this applies to the next door neighbor, the cashier at the grocery store, your spouse, or your co-workers. Changing the world doesn't have to be an extravagant movement, so here is a list we compiled of simple ways to change the world:
- Start small: Changing the world sounds big and intimidating, but if you look back at events that took the world by storm, it usually involves a small start.
- Be a good neighbor: Kind words, a helping hand, a simple smile. You never know what will change someone’s day for the better!
- Random acts of kindness: Pay for the coffee order behind you. Snow Blow your neighbor’s sidewalk. Compliment a stranger at the grocery store.
- Smile: . . .at your neighbors, at the cars that pass you by, at the barista, at your co-workers. Recently, Foundant participated in Zingerman's training (Link to training) and set out to implement one of their suggestions called the 10-4 rule. This is how it works when you are 10 feet of someone make eye contact and smile, then within 4 feet greet them verbally.
- Laugh at yourself: Forget the embarrassment, who has time for that? Instead, laugh, smile, and take a bow!
- Take time every day to pause and be thankful: Life gets hectic and it can be easy to forget how much we have to be thankful for.
- Celebrate others successes: There’s no room for jealousy or bitter competition when you’re changing the world. Celebrate each other’s success and then find ways to do it more!
Recycle, clean up trash, use less water. This is true, but we also live in a world full of interactions and it can be easy to forget the kind of impact we have on the people around us.
There have been several times after engaging with a client where they will stop and thank us for taking a huge burden off their chest for relieving a ton of stress they had to deal with that day, and all we had to do was offer up 30 minutes of our time to create a whole new day for someone.
That changes the world.