How are you responding to your customers?
I’m in the throes of booking a holiday right now. Yay me. Can’t wait. I’ve met a lot of travel companies in my quest for the perfect trip (to Mexico this time). And I’ve had a lot of very mixed responses from the enquiries I’ve made.
The biggest surprises of all may be that it is not the size of the organisation that has necessarily mattered – but the degree of detail that really does build trust. Personal emails with reference to what we talked about and relevant links. You could argue that that is the very least that I could expect. Unfortunately, experience dictates otherwise and organisations both large and small have made errors of exclusion that are alarming.
As a rule of thumb though, the larger the company, the more impersonal and perfunctory the response. You would think that the larger the company the better able to keep responses personal and to the point. But it mainly seems to be an enthusiasm gap, if I am honest. It feels like some of the responses have been flat, based on an overwhelming volume of response and in handling responses, they’ve lost track of the customer.
It’s exactly the same when I made a series of donations recently.
Christmas, #firstfiver and some sad incidents in people’s lives have led me to make donations to some completely new-to-me charities over the past year.
Over Christmas in particular, I made two small donations to small charities and had very effusive thanks. To larger charities – certainly ones with a profile in the medium size charity range – the response was patchy. I use the term kindly as one of two charities failed to acknowledge my gift. At all.
Getting the right balance
What’s the right response? Is there a balance?
My interest is piqued about this mainly because I see it is an issue I have perceived across nfp/fp boundary lines.
Is it simply that if we’re in a smaller organisation we’re more passionate about our jobs and our mission?
Is it that you just are simply busier in bigger organisations?
Is my donation or enquiry more valuable to a smaller organisation than a larger one?
In an ideal world, there would be a consistency of response.
Is tech the route to success?
I’m struck that in all these cases, from both non-profit and commercial, neither side was really using technology to its best advantage to help the enquiry process.
They were still replying personally (using Outlook, Google Mail etc) to handle their enquiries.
How are they gathering the click data from what they added to the email?
How are they seeing whether I responded or not?
While there are apps that can connect Outlook and Google with your CRM for this data (Cirrus Insights being one), there are also ways to handle these basic enquiries and create compelling welcome journeys for a wide range of situations via email marketing tools.
The data that comes back from these is rich and varied and helps pin down information that the sales or fundraising teams can use to effectively craft their next steps. But critically, the whole response mechanism is on brand, full of carefully crafted enthusiasm. It is also targeted to what I expressed an interest in, designed to garner more about me and what my likely next move might be by offering me tempting links that identify me as a potential repeat donor with nurturing, or pop me straight into the major donor nurture programme. Or add me to the cheap vs expensive holidays bucket list.
Can we help?
If you’re interested in how to get started with using email to build informative supporter journeys – or using your tech more effectively get in touch. We’ll help you start to build towards a more automated future – freeing you up to take care of the other bullet points in your job description.