Most nonprofits probably don’t think of themselves as providing ‘customer service’ … certainly not on the sense of merchants and retailers.

But if you do think — for a moment — of donors and members as customers, your organization most likely does have quite a number of customer-like interactions — everything from address changes to info requests to merchandise and donation transactions.

So it’s worth considering The Retail Consumer Report, based on research conducted by Harris Interactive with individuals who made online purchases during the past Christmas season.

Just how important was customer service to these consumers? Consider these responses:

  • 95% have taken action after a bad customer service experience, and 79% have told others about it.
  • Nearly all consumers (82%) have stopped doing business with an organization as a result of negative experience and most (75%) do not return.
  • After a negative holiday shopping experience with an online retailer, 21% of consumers decided not to buy anything from the retailer.

Most impressive are the positive findings …

  • 68% of consumers who posted a complaint or negative review on a social networking or ratings/reviews site after a negative holiday shopping experience got a response from the retailer. Of those, 33% turned around and posted a positive review, 34% deleted their original negative review, and 18% turned into loyal customers and bought more.
  • 85% of consumers said they would be willing to pay anywhere between 5-25% over the standard price to ensure a superior customer experience.
  • For those consumers that had a positive holiday shopping experience with an online retailer, 21% recommended the retailer to friends and 13% posted a positive online review about the retailer.
  • And 66% cite good customer service as the most significant driver encouraging greater spending.

Finally, further underscoring the importance of communicating with disgruntled customers, 58% of customers who post a comment on a social net site like Facebook expect a response.

So pay careful attention to how your organization interacts with donors and members. And if someone has a bad experience, don’t add insult to injury by not communicating with them!


P.S. You download the full report here.

This article was posted in: Communications, Donor retention / loyalty / commitment, Nonprofit management, Social media.
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