Friday, April 03, 2009

Customer Service Lesson from Salvation Army

So, I got a call today. It was from Jason at the Salvation Army. I knew what he wanted. It is what EVERY charity I give to wants. I was sure he was going to ask me for more money. They all do.
But, boy was I wrong. He didn’t want money. He only wanted to thank me.

Jason told me how grateful he was that I had donated to their Bed and Breakfast Club, a fundraiser that Dick Purtan puts on every year. And you know, I believed Jason. I think he really was grateful to me, and the others who helped Salvation Army meet their goals.

He told me that he always thanks his donors with a call or a written note of thanks. He told me about all the wonderful things Salvation Army does with our money. I was touched by his enthusiasm and his sincerity.

You can bet the NEXT time Jason contacts me I will be happy to talk to him again and to give to the Salvation Army. Why? Because, he took the time to begin building a relationship with me. He called simply to say thanks.

So, what can we learn from this charity and more importantly from Jason? Gratitude goes a long way to making your customer feel valued and important. I continually harp on the fact that your customers have an almost unlimited amount of choices on whom to give their money. The same is true for charities, especially in these tough times, charities have to compete for your money. Saying thanks, being truly grateful, goes a long way to creating the kind of relationship that makes your customer happy to do business with you.

Today, call your customer to just say thanks. Write them a personal note. Stop by their home and drop off a small token of your gratitude. Then let me know their reaction.

Also, if you can, give some money to the Salvation Army or the charity of your choice. The world will be a better place for it.

1 comment:

MrQ said...

Great post, Laurie! This is the same principle I promote when we talk about sending hand-written thank you notes and NOT asking for referrals at the same time. The impact of the thank you is dramatically diminished when you combine a 'thank you' with 'Oh, by the way - if you know anyone else in the market for a _____, please send them my way.'

I'm all for seeking referral business, just not at the expense of the very relationship Jason cultivated with you in your example.

You are headlining on this weekend; keep the great ideas coming!