All charities have customers

Third Sector Promotion Sponsored by Creative Computing Solutions

By Justin Farmiloe, Sales & Operations Director, Creative Computing Solutions and owner of Just-DONATE.

In retail, the term Customer Experience or CX has been around for years. In a crowded market, businesses realise that they need to do more than compete on quality or cost. Whether it’s a "never knowingly undersold" price promise or a "365-days to change your mind" returns policy, the perception that customers have of a brand has become an important differentiator. And it’s no different for charities.

Whether they are supporters, donors, volunteers or employees, I believe they are all your customers. The experience they have when interacting with your organisation is important. Digital transformation gives you the opportunity to reach out to them in ways that have previously only been available to large corporates.

Customer demand

In a digital world, donors are becoming more demanding about the interactions they have with charities. A paper-based process just isn’t going to cut it when Artificial Intelligence can generate a playlist of music you might like that you then listen to on a voice-activated speaker. Donors want giving to be easy, and they expect real-time feedback about how their money is being spent.

Leading companies realise that giving customers control over their own experience and delivering a more personalised service is an effective tactic for generating consumer loyalty. Many donors are now coming to expect this level of service from the charities that they support, and the technology is available and affordable to make it happen.

Employer brand

Your brand needs to be developed from the inside, as well as the outside. Your employee experience is just as important as your customer experience in a competitive job market where many organisations are investing in their employer brand.

Research by The Workforce Institute at Kronos shows that over half of UK employees believe their personal technology is more modern and user-friendly than their workplace technology. It’s not enough to expect your team to work effectively because they believe in the cause. You need to give them the right tools to do their job, or you run the risk that they will get frustrated, move on – and share their poor experience with others.

Connected customers

Your customers can now communicate with you, and about you, in multiple different ways – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and upcoming tools that we can’t even dream of. When a poor passenger experience on United Airlines went viral, company stock dropped by $1.4billion overnight. And charities aren’t immune. Earlier this year, Comic Relief was forced to manage criticism over a social media post in the lead up to their biggest fundraising day of the year.

In such a crowded and well-informed marketplace, it’s no longer enough to rely on the loyalty of your existing supporters. If you can’t accurately tell people where their donation is being spent – and the impact it has made – you can’t expect them to give again. In a world where 89% of companies now compete on the basis of customer experience, charities who fail to recognise the importance of CX will surely get left behind.

For more advice and information on developing your charity’s tech strategy, including how to create a distinctive customer experience by making technology your friend, download our White Paper: Does your charity have a tech strategy?

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