How to Lose a Subscriber & a Donor in 10 seconds

Last night I went to theatre here in NYC. It’s a big-name non-profit theatre, but I’m not going to say the name since I’m more interested in making a point than bashing an organization. But bash I will.

I got there at 7:50 PM for an 8:00 curtain and headed to the men’s room. When I turned to the sink I saw an attendant with towels and soap, thrusting them at me. Knowing that if I took the towel, I would have to give a tip and knowing that I only had two $20 bills in my pocket, I decided “no attendant for me” and reached for the towel dispenser. But… it was empty. So I took the towel and since it was only minutes before curtain, grabbed all the change in my pocket that I had, and put it in the tip jar.

At this point, the attendant took the change out, and handed it back to me. He said “No, I don’t take this.” I asked, “Are you saying that you don’t want a tip, or that the tip isn’t enough? He said, “You can keep it.”

Several others witnessed this, and one other patron asked me as we left the bathroom whether what he had just witnessed was what he thought it was.

So, by now, I’m fuming. It’s really unpleasant to be insulted. I’m now in a foul mood and I don’t enjoy the play at all. (It was a lousy production to start with and this made it worse.) I spent the whole first act resolving not to renew my subscription nor give an end-of –year donation, thinking about all the friends I was going to tell this story to, and drafting this post in my head.   

So, what’s the lesson here?  You can work like crazy as a marketer to build your brand, to win new subscribers and your organization can put on great shows.But all it takes is one little interaction like this to blow the whole thing.

How much time does your organization spend training each and every person that interacts with your patrons? 

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One response to “How to Lose a Subscriber & a Donor in 10 seconds

  1. Wow! That is amazing! Now I’m really curious to know where it happened. I know that’s not the point, but I’m still very curious. 🙂

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