What experience do you give?

Hotel Chocolat have shops in most major railway stations. It’s a dangerous place to browse. On Friday morning I bought some chocolates for my mum for Mother’s Day. As I paid the person serving me offered me a free “early morning” chocolate and then added if I completed the customer survey I had a chance of winning a years free chocolate. I left feeling good – even though I’d just bought £10 of chocolate!hotel

How do you make people feel?

My latte on the house - I was so impressed I took a photo!

My latte on the house – I was so impressed I took a photo!

In Pret I took a colleague from Kenya for a coffee before a meeting. We were arguing who should buy the coffee insisting each of us should buy for the other. The person serving us suddenly said “it’s on us” and gave us two lattes on the house. I tweeted it, have told others, and of course returned to Pret many times since.

A few years ago I met a cousin on mine who works at Costa. He told me of the customer service pack they launched and sent out to all staff. Inside the box was one thing … A mirror! The point they were making? The most important part of the customer experience is the attitude of the person delivering it.

Last week I got a letter from a charity I supported in the past and do so every year from a door to door collection. I do so because a neighbour we know comes around each year and it’s a cause I’m very happy to give to. I provide my details so they can get the gift aid of course. The letter didn’t acknowledge any of that at all – just (another) request for a donation. Feeling ? Disappointed.

The same day I got a call from Virgin Media. The caller began by saying thank you for being a customer for 13 years, asked if I was happy with the service, and then went to offer me a package of extra station at no cost (well for 6 months). I knew I was being sold to but the way they did it was great. And at the end, like the chocolate thrown in, the caller said they would give me 100 minutes of free calls to mobiles a month.

Each year Ocado, the online shopping service we use, gives us a bottle of wine on the anniversary of our first order. This year it was a voucher so we could choose the wine we wanted.

How can a chocolate shop, a coffee chain, a media seller and an online supermarket get it right and yet charities often get it wrong?

Do you convey “You matter”?

It’s that extra bit of effort they all take to think about me. It says to me you matter. And it clearly makes business sense.

Perhaps this is consequence of the regular donor on a direct debit. Once you’ve got them the perception is you don’t need to tempt them back. So all the effort goes in to that sell rather than the ‘customer experience’ so you come back.

Yet providing a memorable donor experience is easy – as the above examples show its the small things matter but it needs that extra bit of effort. At SolarAid we often send handwritten thank yous using cards we had made specially for the purpose, we thank regular donors a year on and tell them what they have helped achieved, and we offer a solar light to donors who give £60 or more. I am sure we could do even more.


What sort of donor/customer experience do you give? What do you offer your supporters? How can you make them feel wonderful when they effectively buy from you by donating to your cause and walk away with a smile having parted with their cash?


STOP PRESS in the UK there is an initiative to help develop the donor experience. You can get involved to, where ever you are in the world by sharing your examples of providing a great donor experience. You can find out more here : http://donor-experience.com/join-the-movement


5 thoughts on “What experience do you give?

  1. As a new subscriber to iFundraiser, just want to say how much I appreciate your canny, concise and informative posts – thank you for the energy you put into this and I’m already a fan.


  2. Good Day to You,

    “The most important part of the customer experience is the attitude of the person delivering it.”

    I recently got a recall notice for my 2004 Dodge Caravan. When I called the local dealer, they played “20 questions” with me because I “wasn’t in their system”.

    They made me sign a paper that I “agree to pay for the diagnostic test”, if the test does not confirm that the problem exists.

    The van had to be left at the dealer and when I called (numerous times) to check on it, each time I was put on “hold”, while they asked around for the service manager for help.

    When they finally finished and had confirmed the problem, they couldn’t find the parts to replace the defected ones. They are “going to call” when the parts are located.

    That was six (6) weeks ago.

    Guess we know where I won’t be purchasing my next vehicle.

    The sad part is that I was going to purchase my next vehicle from them.

    I wonder how many times that has happened?

    Customer experience and Donor experience amount to the same thing when we want them to keep coming back.

    Our own attitude counts. We should be thinking of our customers/donors as Important People, BECAUSE THEY ARE.

    Without them our business/charity cannot exist.

    Mutual Respect and Cooperation, making sure the other person feels needed and cared for, not like a close family member, but as a V.I.C – Very Important Contact.

    Everyone benefits, because we are all enriched.

    Anybody want to “Attitude Dance”?

    My Best to You
    Arthur Strout (Arth)


    • I had one of those experiences with an energy company over several months. In fact today was the last chance to sort out the issue I had. This time, however, when I finally got through I had someone who did go that extra mile to find out the problem and call me back. So partly redeemed but overall the experience has not been a good one. Which makes me realise you need everyone in your organisation on board to deliver a consistent customer/donor experience – not just a few who get it. That probably relates to culture, and as you say attitude, as much as tactics.


  3. Pingback: Five star reviews | ifundraiser blog

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