Which term does your charity use, supporter or customer?
Is the charity sector ready for customer experience?
Is it just semantics whether we use the terms customer or supporter?
Surely it’s the actions and how we treat them that really matters not what we call them?
Whichever your charity decides, supporter or customer, for me experience is the key word that as a sector we must keep talking about and ensure is on the agenda for the top execs. It should feature in corporate strategy and be an underpinning fundamental principle that will support achieving other strategic objectives.
Does your charity truly understand how your customers feel about you?
Does your charity truly understand what really matters to its customers?
Experience isn’t just about how a supporter’s query is handled within the supporter services team, it’s much deeper and wide hitting than that.
Experience is about their first impressions of you as a charity, how you made them feel when they used your service or how you thanked them after a donation, personalising interactions when you send campaigns to them or how you recognise them when they call your supporter services team. Experience is about how you supported your fundraiser when training for a marathon and how you keep each customer’s context throughout their journey with your charity.
Using tools such as customer journey mapping allows charities to truly understand moments that matter to the customer, what their pain points are and how internal business processes align against the experience of your charity from their point of view. It’s an outside in perspective rather than how can we improve processes based on feedback from internal teams. A customer journey can bring in customer emotions through their pain points and ‘I need’ statements, this can allow you to focus in on improving experiences that actually matter and have the biggest impact. You’ll be surprised how your perception of what matters to them is different to what actually matters!
Does your charity see supporters and people who use your services as separate herds of people?
Maybe the word ‘customer’ can bring those two groups together. Supporters who donate and advocate your charity with the people who use your services.
Maybe the word ‘customer’ can start to bring down the silo approach and start the journey of seeing both groups as a holistic one, yes with different needs and expectations but nevertheless customers of your charity. Plus I have no doubt they aren’t actually two separate herds of people, fundraisers tend to be people using or closely linked to people using your services. So the problem may be that we’re still viewing them as two sets of people.
Do teams within your charity see it as their own pot of customers rather than the charity’s customers? How far away are you from teams collaborating and working together to get the best for the customers rather than internal teams competing with each other to hit departmental budgets?
If you get the customer experience right it will increase retention and recruitment of new customers, and ultimately result in increased fundraising income. You’ll be making customers feel absolutely part of your charity and something special, you’ll be creating avid fans that will defend you when mistakes happen and promote the great work you do.
So, maybe this customer experience thing could be handy in your charity? Where do you start?
Next up, is customer journey mapping and how this can be a starting tool for your charity to step towards transforming its customer experience.
Guest blog written by Paul Pember, Head of Customer Experience and blog writer under the name ‘Mr Customer’.Check out my earlier blog about why first impressions are an important part of customer experience.