Too many businesses and nonprofits alike treat customer service as a backwater. They give the function low priority, few resources, and no serious thought as to its potential brand enhancing — or destroying — impact.

Here's an example of how to do it right, directly from our experience at The Agitator as a customer. We use a service called Feedburner to provide an easy-to-use way for our readers like you to sign-up to get The Agitator regularly in your email or on your homepage. As you read this, the sign-up box is in the left column (Try it … you'll like it!).

Well, awhile back, I realized the feed wasn't working properly. Off I went, loaded for bear, expecting to wade into the usually frustrating world of online FAQs and “contact us” mazes. But several things happened at Feedburner. First, they were easy to contact. Second, they communicated online with a deftness that immediately defused my annoyance. Third, they acknowledged the problem immediately (and we're not Google calling, after all) and stuck with the problem-solving through what turned out to be a vexing, lengthy process of trial and error.

The experience was exasperating, but the Feedburner folks earned my respect through their persistence, style and grace. [And together we fixed the problem!]

Here's a glimpse of the exchange. The phrase that most disarmed me was the line they used to gently coax me to try their FAQs first: “Not that we're saying you're unoriginal, but please be sure to visit (their user forums).” It's a very simple line of copy, but one that somebody mindful of customer psychology actually gave some thought to. It made me think: “I like these guys.” They had already won the emotional “battle.”

If you want to hang onto your members, donors, and activists, treat them this way!

One of Feedburner's communications follows …

Continue reading “Excellent Customer/Donor Service = Loyalty”

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