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 - whether it’s in a for-profit business or between a funder and grantee. The personal relationships built by providing exceptional service can become an integral part of any decision. At Foundant, we understand this and focus our culture around the idea that the client always comes first.
This is especially true in 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
The kind of customer service that changes the world isn't a fancy formula but is 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 increases in technology and remote workers, there has been a fundamental change in the way we communicate. And because of this, there has been an increased importance placed on actively engaging with others. A simple phone call or Zoom message 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 others 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 person.
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 even looking back to a year ago, 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. Choosing to be kind can go a long way.
Smile: . . .at your neighbors, at the cars that pass you by, at the barista, at your co-workers.
Years ago, the Foundant Team learned about the 10-4 rule from a Zingerman’s Customer Service Training - AKA, “when you are within 10 feet of someone, make eye contact and smile. Then within 4 feet greet them verbally.”
In this article from Zingerman's, the 10-4 rule has been refreshed as the 10-6 rule. Even from behind a mask, a camera, or plexiglass adding a couple more feet between an interaction doesn’t alter the path of influence.
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!
It is easy to look around and say “I can change the world if I…had the resources, the money, the time. While this can be true, 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. Service is in every action, every thought, and every person.
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 or for relieving a ton of stress they had to deal with that day. In the end, 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.