Hello, Customer Service? Are You There?

I recently received my annual family Christmas cards in the mail… sans picture. Yep, beautiful cards on amazing matte card stock with a festive tree and “Happy Holidays from the Laird Family”… no picture. This was a new company I used because (I’m ashamed to say) the price was simply lower and it seemed really easy. But, when I reached out to customer service… crickets.

There wasn’t much that could be done because I had apparently approved the blank cards – not sure how I managed to do that. But, it’s not a complete loss, because now we’re free to let our family creativity shine through!

best customer serviceBut, this brings me to my point. When you pay for a service, you expect that service. Choosing a provider is not just about price or features. Customer service is one of the most important, yet often most under valued attributes of companies today.

I am willing to give a restaurant where I received bad food a second chance… if they provided amazing service. I’m willing to return to a retail store that sold me a shirt that unraveled… if they provided amazing service. I’m even willing to return to a printing company that botched my Christmas cards… if they provided amazing customer service. It’s amazing what we’ll forgive, if only the human element is there.

It might be easy to dismiss customer service as a thing of the past as we deal with an increased number of internet companies. But the human element will never be completely eradicated. And, as long as the human element is there, it’s reasonable to expect great customer service. In fact, as we become less connected, I feel that customer service is a great opportunity for companies to differentiate themselves from the crowd.

I’m proud to say I work for a company that puts client experience and service above all else. Not a single person – from intern to marketing to development to executive – who works here puts anything above the satisfaction of our clients. In fact, we’re hired for our attitude toward continual improvement and doing the right thing.

It doesn’t matter which industry, doing the right thing is simple… and it shouldn’t have to be explained. It’s “just business” is not a valid excuse for failing to follow through on a promise. Companies should remember that each and every touchpoint is an opportunity to build relationships and reputation.

But, what do you do when it’s become apparent you need to switch service providers? Ultimately, there is no better resource for finding out what a company will be able to do for you other than speaking with peers. Talk to friends, family, and colleagues. The people who have experienced these services for themselves will tell you what was good, what was bad, and what has improved since they started doing business with that vendor.

In the philanthropic sector, there are resources such as Technology Affinity Group, Grants Managers Network, Exponent Philanthropy, Foundation Center, and more that provide research resources and opportunities to connect with peers.

We’d love to hear about some of the resources you’ve used to research technology, service providers, and more. Please shoot us a comment below!

Looking to learn more?

If you’re interested in learning about what continual improvement and customer service look like from a technology company, check out one of our demonstration webinars here.

About the Author

Kristin Laird

As the Content Marketing Manager for Foundant Technologies, Kristin is passionate about sharing knowledge with the philanthropic community so they can maximize their impact. She enjoys collaborating with her highly creative and talented Content Team to continually deliver better, more engaging materials. As an avid reader and writer, Kristin is fascinated with the written word and all forms of communication. In her spare time, she loves to read, write, swim, cook, and spend time with her comedic husband and children. Volunteering throughout the community and finding ways to get involved with fundraisers that make a difference is important to her. Kristin has enjoyed speaking at local nonprofit fundraising events including Thrive's annual Lily Ball and various fundraising and awareness events for HAVEN, a local shelter for victims of domestic violence, through their End the Silence Speaker's Bureau - a group dedicated to educating the community through personal narrative. Kristin's kiddos - Camden (12) and Taylor (9) - enjoy being Certified Cat Cuddlers at Bozeman's local Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter. Drop her a line at kristin.laird@foundant.com if you have an idea for some inspiring content!

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