10 Customer Service Tips for Non-Profits and Small Businesses

If you’re running any business the absolute essential key is Customer Service.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a small business, non-profit, or large corporation.

Customer Service is the only way the business survives. This is from my 15+ years of experience in customer support. Once you sell your service or product, what’s next? You need to retain that customer. Now I’m using the term customer very vaguely but look around you, EVERYONE is your customer. For example, if you’re in a non-profit organization your customer is a:

  • Certificant
  • Donor
  • Member
  • Volunteer
  • Vendor

These are critical aspects of your organization, if you lose one of these customers the business will not survive.  Therefore you have to invest in customer service skills whether it’s you, hired staff, or a Virtual Assistant.  Also keep in mind you are providing customer support by phone and internet (website, email, and social media).


1.   Answer the phone/email in a manner that the customer feels as if they are the only person you are concerned about.  Smile while answering, I know it sounds cheesy but it sets a positive tone.  Be sure to provide a greeting and your name.

2.   Listen very carefully. Do NOT interrupt.  Now I have learned this the hard way because when you’re in customer service for so long you can almost know verbatim of what the customer is about to say BUT you mustn’t take over the conversation.  Let them finish what they are saying, then you can speak.

3.   Show you CARE!  This is where you let them know what YOU can do for them.  However do not make any promises you can’t handle.  Nothing is worse than giving a customer misinformation.  Be honest.

4.   Wait it out with them.  If they are searching for something on your website, wait on the phone with them with step by step instructions until they find what they are looking for.  Or maybe they are just venting and they just want a shoulder to cry on.  Be there to listen.

5.   Never say, “I don’t know”.  If you don’t know then say, “Let me find out for you” and then find out.  Nothing is worse when you’re looking for help and the person that’s supposed to help you is clueless.  It’s discouraging.  You are to make them feel better not worse.

6.   Always follow-up and fast.  For example, if a volunteer took some time to go to your organization’s conference, follow-up with a kind letter or email of appreciation.  If a donor contributed $10 towards your program, be sure to follow-up with an appreciation letter or email.

7.   Provide easy access to your website.  Less clicks please!  According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, non-profit organizations fail to provide easy access especially for mobile-users.  Make it easy to navigate and user-friendly.

8.   Over-deliver!  Do what you do best and then some.  If they ask to have something on Monday, give it to them the Friday beforehand if possible.

9.   Ask for feedback.  How do you know if they are satisfied if you don’t ask?

10.        Give news – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.  Talk about any news that might affect them and give them plenty notice.  If there has been a mistake on your end be sure to apologize.  It shows you care about their time.

“Customer service is a range of emotions, there are highs and lows but you must maintain composure and bottom line let your customer know they are YOUR highest priority.”


Check out this infographic for statistics on Customer Service tips:

Pin It I hope this was informative and is a reminder to keep Customer Service at your forefront.  I would love to hear from you! Let me know if your business or organization has stepped up to the plate with fantastic Customer Service or needs some help. Blessings, Lillian De Jesus


Published by Lillian De Jesus

Connect with me on Twitter @tigerlilyva11!

3 thoughts on “10 Customer Service Tips for Non-Profits and Small Businesses

    1. Hello Michael,

      I’m doing great! I hope you’re doing great as well.

      I almost forgot about this post. What a blast from the past! I’m very passionate about nonprofit organizations and their successes. I see that you are too. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Take care,

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