The main point of my letter was, that to me, I only receive communication from this organization when there is a request for money or to remind me of their rules of engagement.
As a 'customer' of this organization for over 2 years I cannot recall when I have received a communication, personally addressed to me, about something good that impacts me. And this bugs me.
While my feedback was most likely contrary to what this organization thought about the experience they are creating or what they had previously heard from others, it was my intent to provide much needed insight into my unique experience as a 'customer'.
The response that I got, while timely (within 48 hours) was shocking.
I will net out the high points - which I actually consider low points because I learned years ago in my career what NOT to do when responding to a customer letter.
Here is what I understood from their response:
1. I had a defect (the letter accused me of being angry, twice)
2. The author of the letter had over 22 years of experience in her field (again mentioned twice)
3. I was wrong, according to the letter, one of the defects that I had pointed out was not true
After absorbing the response it was clear that this organizations leader needed to understand how to properly respond to a 'complaint'.
So I shared my proven 4 step process with them. I even included a sample response to my original email using this proven method.
Admit the breakdown
Offer a real solution
Give them something extra
Do it quickly
Writing this blog is not to show off what I have learned during a career in Executive Complaint Management. It is however to remind you that your 'customers' come in all forms - parent, student, peer, patient, etc - and that anyone who interacts with customers (think schools, universities, professional agencies, hospitals) needs to know how to treat complaints as gifts and respond appropriately.
Using my proven 4 step process of course.
Had this administrator responded in the proper way I would have been a Promoter of the organization and written a check. But this mistake of not seeing my complaint as a gift cost them real money because instead of writing a check, I placed the Annual Fund solicitation in the trash.
Any time you interact with people, consider them a customer. Any time you receive feedback that may be contrary to what you expect, treat it as a gift.
You can't afford not to.