Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Just some feedback..

I received a piece of feedback recently and though it ticked a lot of boxes: apparently inside track, lovely photograph, personalised, acknowledging my role in its success - I still didn't feel inspired and I asked myself, why not?

An obvious assertion could be that I am a jaded fundraiser who has seen so many pieces of feedback that nothing could inspire me? Nope - that's not it. Quite the contrary.

Or may be it was because it was made to look 'inside track', had a lovely photograph, it was personalised - in short - it looked and felt like every other piece of feedback I have received in recent times because every one is now doing the same thing to the point where the execution has become generic rather than special. That indeed could be it.

Or It could also be that no matter how great the production values, the story, the enclosures, the photographs - if you have no real connection with the people being featured then at the end of the day it is merely a broadcast - possibly a very good broadcast - but a broadcast none-the-less and we need to get beyond broadcasting and get connecting with the people who support us.

Our on-going communications are a key to the relationships we are looking to forge - as good as your stories may be, or that internally they are seen as a shining example of your work in practice - if there is no connection established very early on - no on-going narrative then there is a good chance your feedback will not get beyond the recycling bin.

There it is, just some honest feedback.

Thanks as ever for stopping by.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Mistakes are human and so should the response be

I had cause recently to raise a concern with a nappy recycling company that I have subscribed to since Noah was born because they had not arrived to collect the nappies. I knew what the problem was in all likelihood mainly because of technology. Some sat nav systems take you to the same address in the next village and that was the most likely reason.

I completed an on-line form and true to their word I heard back well within 48 hours - they explained that the usual driver who knew the route was off on holiday and the replacement driver was unaware of the sat nav issue. The email contained profuse apologies and reassurances that the problem would not happen again.

All fine and good - but the response also told me that the usual driver had gone to Florida - had a great time and had even been into the office on his return to share his lovely holiday experience. And it was that detail that well, actually made me smile.

Don't get me wrong - my 'complaint' was not a serious one - and I had always received good service so was not aggravated or annoyed in any way. Their basic response would have been fine - but the fact that this had been freshly drafted with probably irrelevant but interesting information and no standard paragraphs just made it feel human and real - even if it was in an email form.

So when handling complaints and queries may be it's time to think about your processes. Review your letters. How many standard paragraphs do they contain? And ask yourself do the responses to supporter queries and complaints sound as though they were written by a person for another person in response to that specific enquiry or complaint?

If not, then may be it's time to have a re-think to ensure that your supporters know there are real people on the end of the pen and paper or email and allow your character to come through. After all, as we all know people give to people so therefore it stands to reason that people respond better to people, real people whether complaining or congratulating. And don't forgot what an opportunity there is if complaints are dealt with well.

Thanks as ever for stopping by.