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  • Mohamed Drahaman

Nonprofits need to care about customer service too.



Good customer service will drive greater engagement and loyalty with your nonprofit fee for service programs. It helps bring in new families and retain the long time loyal ones. Poor customer service over time will lead to significant loss in revenue for your fee for service programs. Fee for service programs are essential for covering nonprofit overhead costs. Therefore, it is prudent that you review your customer service practices.


What are some examples of poor customer service?


Social media mismanagement


Social media is still a relatively new tool for nonprofit organizations. Many nonprofits have yet to master its fast paced continually evolving nature. Most of the families in your fee for service programs are accustomed to other businesses engaging with them 24/7 through social media. Families expect their nonprofit fee for service programs engage with them in the same way as those businesses.


If you do not add customer service measures to your social media channels, you are vulnerable to social media crises. For example if families feel their feedback is ignored or not taken seriously, the first place they will turn to vent their frustrations are on social media groups geographically close to your nonprofit organizations. Once that happens, it will be very difficult for you to respond to and deal with the negative backlash. Having the right customer service measures in place can help eliminate or minimize the risks of potential social media crises.


Ignoring or slow to respond to customer feedback


Families are used to being connected 24/7 to businesses and brands. Think back to how quickly businesses address your comments and concerns. Families expect nonprofits to do the same with their concerns about fee for service programs. Long hold times, slow email response times, and mishandling of their feedback will create the sense that you do not care about their opinion or value their enrollment in your fee for service programs.


By responding to these families in a timely manner, you can help satisfy frustrations by fixing small problems before they become big ones.


No customer service history tracking


Lack of history about feedback from families can be detrimental for your fee for service programs. Being able to learn from past feedback will help you be proactive about potential problems in the future instead of reactive. Keeping track of past issues and solutions will help you provide consistent customer service to all of the families in your fee for service programs. Consistency is key to helping the families in your program feel valued.


What are cutting edge nonprofits doing to ensure they are providing top tier customer service?


To ensure they are providing top tier customer service, cutting edge nonprofit organizations are moving towards Multi-Channel and Omni-Channel Support, alongside strong customer support strategies.


What are Multi-Channel and Omni-Channel Support?


A support channel is a medium through which a brand can communicate with its families. These include mediums such as web forums, knowledge bases, social media, live chat, phone.


Multi-Channel support is when a nonprofit organization offers more than one of these channels to connect and build relationships with their customers.


Omni-Channel support strategy brings all of those channels together to create a unified experience that puts the focus on the family. This helps nonprofit organizations keep pace with families expectations by improving their journey in the fee for service programs.

To find the strategy that fits your nonprofit organization the best is a journey. Start that journey with a process review and pay close attention to your people, processes, and the technology currently in place. Review your in house capacity and determine the resources you will need from outside specialists. With the proper plan in place, you can have a customer support strategy that will translate into increasing the profile of your organization as well as the revenue from your fee for service programs.


Customer Relationship Management (CRM)



Once you have decided on the strategy that fits your nonprofit organization, the next step is to decide on a CRM to bring it all together.


Some nonprofit organizations use excel sheets and filing systems to store information about the families in their fee for service programs. These systems may be useful and adequate for a time. However, as your organization grows these old fashioned excel sheets and filing systems will not scale with your organizations needs.


What is a CRM?


CRM is a database that stores information about your families. This could include contact information, payment history, and a record of the interactions your organization has with your families.


You can set up automated emails, create consistent communication templates, and personalize your interaction with the families. The leadership team can have access to reports and dashboards which can give 360 degree insight into the health of your fee for service programs. All this in real time.


How can this improve customer service?


Throughout the year, you may have multiple points of contact with a family. This could include phone conversation, an email, or face to face conversation. All of these points of contact are important as you try to provide quality service for those families. They are also important to help build strong relationships.


Imagine having access to all of those points of contacts in one system. Before dealing with a concern that family may have, you can go back and look at the past history. History that will be preserved no matter how much turnover your organization may go through. Most importantly, it helps you foster strong two way communication with the families to continually gauge their level of satisfaction with your fee for service program.


Why does all this matter?


Recruiting and hiring quality employees is crucial to great customer service for your fee for service programs. However, friendly employees are no longer enough. To keep up with customer expectations, you need a strong team, a strong customer service strategy, and the right technology to bring it all together.


For a free review of the people, process, and technology in your customer service strategy, don’t hesitate to get in touch.


You can book a 15 minute review session by clicking this link: https://calendly.com/mohamedd/15min

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