It’s been a stressful couple of weeks at GlobalGiving. The success of last year’s launch of biodegradable gift cards inspired us to expand and improve our offering this holiday season. Part of the improvement was to outsource the fulfillment of the cards. Believe me, if you had been in our office around December 12th 2007, and seen the late night card-fulfilling process, you would get what I’m talking about. So we did a very thorough RFP and selected what we thought was a cutting edge vendor. But things have not gone all that smoothly. We launched the new “platform” a month later than we had hoped. (Let me just say for the record our lead developer, Kevin, was on schedule).
After an 11th hour trip to the midwest for a “Come to Yahweh” meeting, we launched the new designs & fulfillment process just before midnight Friday November 21st. We saw orders flowing through the system within hours. Sounds great, right? Wrong. Due to some issues on the vendor’s side, no cards shipped for the first 12 days. It’s a long story, but the bottom line is that many GlobalGiving customers have waited WAY TOO LONG to get their cards. We’ve been upset, nervous and doing whatever we can to get things “unstuck.” And we think we now have. But the folks who ordered cards between November 21st and December 1st had an experience sort of like going to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
So yesterday we decided to actively communicate with those buyers. We sent them an email that, among other things, said, “we understand that you expected to receive your order in a timely manner, we apologize,” we told them when to expect the cards, and we sent them a free $10 gift card. We expected a bunch of understandably frustrated or angry replies. We braced ourselves. We held our breath. But we’ve received exactly none. Instead, we’ve received these:
- Thank you for the update! I appreciate the $10 gc toward a donation of my choice, which I just redeemed. I’ll look for the cards in the next couple of days.
- I have no problem with the delay. Obstacles are to be expected.
- Thank you for notifying me about this problem and for your kind offer of the $10 gift card as a compensation for the inconvenience. I was happy to donate it in honor of my daughter. Blessings to you for creating this wonderful website and service!
- Thank you for the notification. I do not need the cards before the 8th. Save any expenses you can!
- Glad I started early with this, so it is not a problem. Thanks for the $10; it will be put to good use.
- I’m in no rush for the giftcards, if you want to send them slow, that’s fine with me.
- you guys rock!!!
We are still learning and growing but we have very high expectations for ourselves. These responses let more steam out of the pressure cooker than all the yelling in the world. Wow do we feel lucky to have the kind of community that responds this way.
As a postscript, today I came across Jeff Brooks” post over at Donor Power Blog: Treat Your Donors To Some Unexpected Kindness, in which he lists 10 Treats Customers Love from the Return Customers blog. The ones that caught my eye were about showing your customers empathy and explaining the details. Our marketing team didn’t read his blog before sending out the emails, it just what they thought was the right thing to do. And our customers seem to have validated that.
Now, where are my damn cards?