A "Second Chance" at Proper Customer Service?

Over the last few months, I’ve received quite a few tips regarding a local charitable organization. They’ve come to me through a variety of sources - emails, tweets, PM’s, carrier pigeon, etc.

Unfortunately, the main issue surrounding this organization is not really something I’m confident in reporting on this site. I would never consider myself a real reporter, and I lack the legal backup to assist me if I make any major mistakes. The fact that our city recently budgeted some additional funds to this group may be questionable to some, but I’m actually going to look at it as a vote of confidence that their internal problems have been fixed.

However, I can comment on matters such as customer service, and in this regard it appears that Second Chance Rescue has room to improve. A couple of weeks ago, I turned on my office computer to find my Tweetdeck and Facebook page filled with posts involving this organization.

I have since talked to the person in the middle of this situation. Because she is employed by another local non-profit, she has asked to remain anonymous. I realize that a lot of my readers are never happy by my use of unnamed sources, but I think one can understand her reasoning in this situation.

My source started her gig at the beginning of the month, and a field trip to donate supplies to Second Chance Rescue had been scheduled prior to her first day. The day before they were to visit the facility, she called to verify that they were still set to visit.

Instead of being helpful, the Second Chance representative immediately copped an attitude and said that there was no way the 5:30 appointment could be kept as the facility closed at 5:00. “I asked if someone would be willing to wait for the donation since we didn’t need a tour. That was again met with a sharp ‘no, we close at 5:00’.” She ended up taking the $150 of food and goods to the Humane Society, who happily accepted the donation and even posed for photos.

The entire incident would probably have not received any notoriety had it not been for an article in the Argus less than 36 hours later. The headline? “Second Chance Needs Donations”. The article detailed how desperate supplies were needed because the economy has resulted in more owners giving up their pets to save money.

The timing of this story enraged anybody who knew the story of the donation that was turned away. If the situation is so desperate, clearly one person should be willing to stay an extra half hour to accept some supplies…especially when the donors were a group of disadvantaged children. To make matters worse, once the story went “viral” on twitter and face book, my source’s boss was contacted by a Second Chance representative to threaten to “expose” their identity. Hmmm. It seems to me that contact was needed, but for an apology instead of a threat.

Could this be an isolated incident, or an employee having a bad day? Sure. I truly hope that this is the case. Organizations such as this are sorely needed in this city, and I hope everybody supports any group that aspire to take care of unwanted pets. But proper customer service is mandatory for any company, whether they’re a traditional or non-profit business, and one major element is to admit and apologize for any mistakes. Clearly, some customer service training is needed at Second Chance Rescue.


Vanessa said…
Second Chance offered to make other arrangements to accomadte the group, but that was not good enough for them because they had to come out that day. Had prior arrangements been made we would have made it work but when you get a call at 3pm and they want to come out at 5:30 its not gonna happen when a business closes at 5pm. We have SEVERAL groups that come out for a variety of reasons it NEEDS to be scheduled. We are non-profit which does mean minimal staff. Also when she called she ASKED if they could come for a tour, if it was prearraged she would have said I am calling to CONFIRM our tour. She got very nasty on the phone when I said it was not scheduled but we can set something up for a different time. She snaped back "What am I supposed to do with all these kids" I said ma'am you might want to talk to your boss and she hung up. After her rude phone call I proceeded to call her boss who was not shocked by Carmens behavior. If a social worked can treat someone like that over the phone It makes one wonder how the kids are being treated. Carmen from Luthern Social Services I find it very unprofessional the way you handled the situation.
Anonymous said…
Lets start by being honest here people there are two side to every story. What are we in high school retailiating on twitter? you guys are tools. Grow up and accept your own mistake.
Anonymous said…
It's called citizen journalism, it's very real and it affects major brands.


There are better ways to deal with the fall out than attacking the original claim.


Major players, Domino's


and United Airlines


have even learned this.
Anonymous said…
Customer service is getting bad these days, so you get an A+ for this essay.


I typed the last two comments but forgot to add my name. I'm naughty.

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