Friday, August 1, 2008

Teachers and apples

Right now our Canadian office is coming to the end of an intensive 'Mystery Shopping' exercise. This is where we make loads of donations to loads of charities, some queries and also set up some ongoing automatic gifts (regular giving). We then see how the charities treat us.

We have been doing this for years, in New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and now Canada, and compare with results our friends Pell & Bales get in the UK.

Some charities do well, but some results are shocking - for example more than 30% of Australian charities that accepted our credit card details to set up a monthly donation never, ever debit it!

The results from the Canadian exercise will be released at the AFP Toronto Congress and a Pareto training event. Details tbc, but click here to view all our events including this one.

Anyway, by a coincidence I had a problem with two products (gadgets) which are great for my travelling - my iTouch and my Sony eReader. I bought the BBC series 'Planets' from iTunes and at the same time tried to find books for my eReader (basically an electronic book).

One of the episodes of Planets caused me grief - it simply wouldn't download. I tried to find a way to complain, and eventually did - the solutions suggested by a chap called James at iTunes simply didn't work. I gave up. 2 quid down the drain, ah well.

But then, a few days later I got another email from James "I notice you haven't downloaded [the file] yet, is it still not working?"

Hang on minute - he checked my record, checked my account, afterwards - well beyond the call of duty. I didn't go back to him, I had given up. But he came back! To cut a long story short, he credited me for 3 episodes of something else and I am a happy customer.

With the problem with Sony, I was told they couldn't help and someone would call me back within the next 48 hours. I pointed out I may be in bed for some of that, but the helpful chap (in Costa Rica, which I thought was cool) told me it would be between 9 and 5. They haven't called yet, but what happens if I am in a meeting!? I am so stressed! Why can't they just help me now!?

Now, back to charities. Unlike Sony and Apple, where I am clearly getting a physical return and a clear expectation from a supplier, and because I own their hardware I have to go back to them. I am trapped (I know, my choice). But with a charity - if they make it hard for me, in anyway, why would I go back?

We go back to our charities and share the results and they are always shocked, and then have 'reasons' (excuses)... "Oh, that was during the office move".

I recommend all you charity fundraisers out there, get your partner, mum, friend - someone - to make a gift (or more) and let you know how they get on. I promise it will be useful.

There are many charities I care about and like many donors I worry that I can't give enough to all of them. But really, charities can make working that out easy for me. For example, by not taking my money from my account.

1 comment:

John Lepp said...

Great thoughts Sean. Alternatively, you can do what I do. I write often about my mother-in-law - a very typical Canadian dm donor and her weekly avalanche of prospect and house direct mail... It's an amazing insight to the good, bad and just plain stupid of our industry.

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