Good Customer Service Leaves an Impression

Too often these days, it seems that customer service is a lost art rarely practiced in this country.

It comes as a pleasant surprise, then, when an organization not only owns up to its mistakes but takes quick and decisive action to rectify the situation. I recently experienced this firsthand with the Durham Rescue Mission.

For years our family has donated clothing, furniture and other household items to this worthy nonprofit that helps homeless people in our community. Just last year we scheduled a pickup of several large pieces of furniture. The thrift store crew left a receipt under our doormat and the donations coordinator called to thank us and comment on the good condition of the furniture.

Several months ago we scheduled another furniture pickup and discussed the same arrangement. This time, however, no receipt was left. I called the thrift store twice and left two messages asking for a receipt and for someone to return my call. No response.

I called a third time and finally reached someone who pulled up the original pickup order. She noted that there were no written instructions to leave a receipt. I asked if they could mail me a receipt and was told they don’t do that. I asked how then could I get a receipt and was told I could come to the store to speak to the manager.

By this point, I was so frustrated that I wrote a letter to the Durham Rescue Mission and relayed the details of this disappointing experience. My intent was to alert them to the poor service I, and perhaps others, received.

Within two days someone from the organization called me directly to apologize, despite the fact I did not write my phone number on the letter. That individual told me she would forward my letter to all three thrift store managers, and would send me a receipt immediately. She said some of their workers are clients who are learning their policies and procedures, and that my experience indicated to them they needed to do a better job of training.

The next day I got a receipt in the mail.

While I was all but ready to write off the Rescue Mission, this corrective action gave me pause to reconsider. Although this recent experience started negatively for me, how the matter was resolved ultimately left a positive impression.

Author: Glenn Gillen, APR
Glenn Gillen is our Senior Account Manager.

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