Powering the Nonprofit Community through Customer Support Guest Post
by Dorie Wallace Vice President, Customer Support, Blackbaud

Millions of nonprofits around the globe do incredible work each day to make the world a better place for all of us. Running a nonprofit is possibly one of the most important jobs out there.

At Blackbaud, we get very excited and inspired by our nonprofit customers’ successes and breakthroughs –it constantly drives us to look for ways to improve our technology and customer service to ensure organizations can focus on their vital work while operating and communicating as efficiently and effectively as possible.

And perhaps not coincidentally, our customer support team’s end goals are in some ways similar to a nonprofit’s goals: To be so excellent and impactful at our “mission” that we’re no longer needed (or in our case, that customers no longer have to contact us for help). But until that happens, our support team wants every interaction to delight customers through friendly service and proactive problem-solving.

In reality, we know we always will have customers that prefer to contact us directly, so we will always be here to support them. But for nonprofits, we also know that less time searching for answers and expertise means more time to focus on those they serve. We take that very seriously at Blackbaud, which is why we go to great lengths to listen to and anticipate customers’ needs. Last year, we reached out to thousands of nonprofits proactively offering value-added help.  As an example, we contacted hundreds of customers in December to prepare them for the upcoming tax season.

And because we believe in constant improvement, we set out to transform our support model over the last 18 months; exploring new ways to serve customers even better. In addition to our award-winning phone and rapid chat support, for which our staff is trained six weeks prior to taking on their first case, we built several self-service resources, including our new Knowledgebase and Community Platforms, as well as a series of blogs, YouTube videos, and webinars.

In doing so, we actually saved our customers 1 million minutes last year—that’s valuable time they were able devote to their missions and beneficiaries. And because of our innovation in the area of customer support, we were recently recognized by the Stevie Awards. We medaled in three categories, namely, Innovation in Customer Service, Best Use of Technology in Customer Service, and Contact Center of the Year. But really it’s the feedback from our customers—these everyday miracle-workers—that motivates and inspires us:

“Blackbaud continues to impress me. You don’t have any stipulations about who can ask for help, and make it incredibly easy to access documentation and support staff (via chat, phone, or e-mail). I hope you never waver on making the customer support so enjoyable, because that is the number one reason I use Blackbaud. Thank you, as always!” – Maria Shaffer, Elmira College

“I had two chats with Tyler. Considering that I am a complete novice, learning on the fly, Tyler was very patient, and gave very clear, step-by-step instructions, leaving nothing to chance and making sure everything worked before concluding each chat. As I said to Tyler at the conclusion of the first chat, ‘I was so happy I could cry.’” – Janet Holmes Uchendu, Arkansas Arts Center

Our recent support transformation initiative was a reminder that everyone who leads or supports the social good movement has an important role to play. Although we are not on the front lines tackling the challenges our customers face, we are always seeking out new ways to make their jobs easier. We cheer for our customers every day at Blackbaud. It is our hope that they see that in both our commitment to innovation and in our focus on delivering an outstanding experience. By saving our customers time and serving them in a way that makes them succeed and smile, everyone wins!

Dorie Wallace is Vice-President, Customer Support at Blackbaud


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