If It’s All About That ‘Base, You’re In Trouble!

February 26, 2015

What kind of experience does a donor (or potential supporter) get when they call into your organization? Is it an area of customer service that could use improvement? Today’s guest post is from Rachel Ramjattan.

Have you ever been stuck in traffic bebopping along to a hit tune when life takes a strange turn?  It happened to me this morning as my radio played Megan Trainor’s hit song, It’s All About That Bass.

You know I’m all about that bass,

‘Bout that bass, no treble

megtrainorWhen the song ended I was still stuck in my car, stationary on the congested highway like a speedbump in a parking lot.  Ever the multi-tasker, I decided to make a phone call to a colleague at a fellow nonprofit organization.

The corporate phone system treated me to an endless menu of automated options, none of which included a staff directory or an operator.

I pressed zero hoping it would get me to a human.  Victory!

“Good morning!  May I speak with Ms. Soandso please?

“What’s your first name?

How do you like to spell your first name?

What’s your last name?

How do you like to spell your last name?

What’s your email address?”

“You need ALL this information to transfer me to Ms. Soandso?” I asked.

“Yes, M’am.”

“I’m the xyz director of your organization in Abc city.  You already have all my information on file. Please transfer me to Ms. Soandso.

“Well we don’t have your email address or phone number. I need to capture this information in our donor system.”

“I don’t have time to give you all that information because I need to speak with Ms Soandso urgently.  Can you transfer me now?”

“No, M’am. I have instructions to get all of this information in our donor database first…”


“I REALLY need to speak with Ms. Soandso.  Please, transfer me!”

“OK,” she said before putting me on hold for several more minutes, transferring me to a telephone operator who thankfully passed me on to the voice mail of the person I was trying to reach.

When people take the time to call your organization are they treated as special people that you’re excited to hear from?  Or are they treated like uncooperative children that need to be grilled before you’ll give them what they want?

The people that answer the phone are some of the most important faces of your organization.  They should be trained to welcome callers and provide a great customer service experience.  Otherwise your supporters may be left feeling that they’ve been grilled for your data-hungry database.

A well-trained staff can gather all the data you need for your donor database while leaving your supporters smiling after an enjoyable conversation.

If it’s all about the ‘base, ‘bout the base, ‘bout the base,

You’re in TROUBLE!

Rachel Ramjattan has worked in the nonprofit industry for more than 20 years.  You can find her @RachelNPP or rayramj@yahoo.com

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