Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

YOU, and the beauty of customer service

In Uncategorized on February 19, 2013 at 2:18 pm

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I am standing in the mascara section of a very popular cosmetic retailer, and I can’t help contemplating the great mysteries of the world:  do I want thicker lashes or longer lashes? Why can’t I have both? If this brand is non-clumping, why can’t they all be non-clumping?  I feel overwhelmed; I’m not good with make up.  Pay $42 to look like Kate Hudson or $12 to look like Pink?  I’m starting to feel the same anxiety I feel when I have much TV to catch up on.

Finally, as I drop 10 of the 23 products I am juggling, I catch the attention of the cute, little attendant with the lilac eye shadow.  She sees me walking zombie-like up and down the mascara section, unable to make a decision.   She must notice the tiny beads of sweat starting to form at my temples.  At long last she pities me, “Can I help you?”  And with that I launch into a series of questions.  She folds under the pressure.  She admits she isn’t familiar with several of the lines.  She does not seek out information for me; she does not go out of her way to help me.  Instead, I watch her return to her perch behind the cash, not a care in the world, especially where my mascara needs are concerned.  Her lack of attentiveness irritates me.  I am not impressed.  I’m willing to put down some serious money, but I am so turned off and miffed by this young lady’s poor service, that I dump the arm load of products I’m holding and cross the mall to a different make up store.

I enter the next store a little gun-shy; can some one just help me pick out some mascara?  And my prayers are answered.  A lovely older lady, with a bright red panel in her bangs, proves to be the beacon of knowledge to whom I am in need.  But not only does she explain the various options, she demonstrates them, she listens to my concerns, and she makes me feel less silly for stressing out about mascara.  I appreciate her knowledge and opinions so much that I feel comfortable enough to ask about other products that I have been curious about (the dreaded liquid liner).  Once again, she walks me through the application techniques and even applies the make up on me to see if it’s something I like.  There is no pressure and no rush and so…I buy.  I leave the store with a very tiny bag full of excellent products, the business card of the associate who helped me and an uplifted spirit.  I fight the urge to pull a “Pretty Woman” as I walk past the first store.  Though my teeny bag might not have quite the same impact as the load Julia Roberts totes in the movie.

Ok, so what’s the point?  Mascara….Fund Development, not seeing the connection?  It’s all about CUSTOMER SERVICE.  Yes, it is a basic value.  But is it one we tend to lose sight of?  We have recently spent a lot of time discussing this concept and its importance to what we do as Fund Development practitioners.  But it doesn’t stop there.  It’s not just about being nice to potential donors.  It is about treating everyone as a potential donor and representing the organization in the most positive, and professional way possible.

So what are the takeaways from my hyperbolic mascara rant?

  •  Be knowledgeable about your “product”.  Know your organization.  Know where the donor money goes.  Know the stats.  And it doesn’t matter what department YOU work in, everyone on staff should know the basics and should be able to answer general questions.
  •  Be available.  Make time for your “customer” and make them feel important.  YOU are never too busy.
  •  Be personable and friendly.  Treat everyone as a potential donor.  As my boss likes to say, “Everyone from the Culligan man, who delivers the water, to the thousand dollar monthly donor”.  They are all to be treated with the same level of service.

Are YOU practicing good customer service?

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