The success and relevance of any business almost entirely depends on their ability to cultivate customer loyalty. And, ensuring customer satisfaction at each “organizational touchpoint” (in-person, phone, email, website, and external media) can lead to customer loyalty; where the customer returns and also tells others about their great customer experience.
For-profit organizations invest heavily in the development of organizational processes that will support better customer loyalty. They manage the experience of each “potential” customer, at the various touchpoints that the customer will interface/interact with their organization. To obtain better volunteer loyalty (to improve volunteer recruitment and retention) non-profits might benefit from implementing similar practices.
As a starting point, non-profits should consider adopting some of the following practices, at each key organizational touchpoint (in-person, phone, email, website, and various media platforms).
3 TIPS FOR BUILDING VOLUNTEER LOYALTY & RETENTION AT EACH KEY ORGANIZATIONAL TOUCHPOINT:
1) USE YOUR MEDIA PLATFORMS TO TELL BETTER STORIES
- Use every medium and opportunity to tell “everyone” your story! Spread your story far and wide, using a variety of mediums (i.e. social media, newsprint,TV, events, etc.). This will ensure that a wider audience will hear your story (Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers and Traditionalists).
- Tell your story well! Telling your story well invites people in and allows them to better understand what you do, and why they should support you. To do this, ensure that you understand what your story is (your brand, your cause, your mission, etc.) and how to share it in a way that will resonate with others.
- Create brand story ambassadors! Providing more opportunities for your board, staff, donors and volunteers to learn about your story empowers them to better share your story – and to share it with potential volunteers.
- Be inclusive! Using customer friendly, accessible and inclusive language (and stories) allows a wider range of people (i.e.volunteers) to embrace and support you. It shows that you embrace today’s diverse society and that you are paying attention to all of your stakeholders (i.e. donors, board, volunteers, staff, etc.).
2) DEVELOP A MORE ACCESSIBLE WEBSITE
- Know your target audience! Ensure that your website represents who you are and speaks to your target audience (the people you want your organization to attract).
- Be inclusive! Use inclusive language that best represents your organizational values. Also, try to ensure that your website is accessible to everyone. For example, ensure that your website adheres to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
- Make it relevant and easy to use! Ensure that each stakeholder (i.e. current or potential volunteers, donors, staff, etc.) can easily navigate and find information on your website. And, ensure that the information is up to date and relevant/useful.
3) PROVIDE BETTER INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL AGENCY SUPPORT
- Make good customer service a part of your culture!Collaborate with staff to create a culture that values volunteers and good customer service (and provide customer service training when needed).
- Reinforce and impart how important volunteers are to your organization! Ensure that staff understand the importance of responding to phone, email and in-person inquiries – in a timely, sensitive and professional manner, that aligns with your organizations values . All the marketing that you do to promote your organization can be lost if staff (or company volunteers) have poor email, phone or in-person etiquette.
- Empower staff (and company volunteers) to do their jobs well!Provide staff (and company volunteers) with timely training, and organizational updates – keep them in the information loop. This will enable them to better support and represent your organization.
- Create brand ambassadors! Provide meaningful volunteer positions, and support and recognize your volunteers. When you do this, volunteers will remember and share their great experience with others.
Other information (by other authors) related to this topic:
- 20:20 Customer Experience – The Banking Perspective (IBM Business Consulting Services)
- Inspiring Volunteers: A guide to recruitment and communications (Media Trust)
- Volunteering: A catalyst for citizen engagement,social-inclusion and resilient communities (Paula Speevak Sladowski, Melanie Hientz, & Ruth MacKenzie )