Customers bring many different needs, interests
and attitudes. Being "Customer Smart" with them all, customers will not only get great
service; in addition, they will respect you, and you will leave the interaction knowing that you
completed "a job well done!"
Why focus on customers?
Many of us who choose to work with animals do so because we love them. We either sheepishly or proudly confide that we like animals more than people.
We soon learn this reality: Defending and caring for animals is only half of
the job. Working well with people is the unexpected other half.Therefore, knowing
how to work with animals and people can bring incomparable rewards.
Rewards come in all forms, but none better than knowing that an individual animal's
story has a happy ending.
The challenges of working
with the public are also varied. We work with customers who are impatient, angry, defiant or grief-stricken
and we often have to guess which.
Dealing with the public means enjoying the rewards and rising
to the challenges.
If we conduct routine interactions well on a daily basis and, in addition,
can deal maturely with even the most difficult customer, we help the animals over time --more adoptions, a larger
cache of volunteers, more donations, positive perceptions of shelter staff, and a supportive community.
Why an entire book on customer
service for animal shelters?
few books exist that deal with customer service from the perspective of someone who works at an animal
Each chapter of the workbook "Animal
Friendly-Customer Smart: People Skills for Animal Shelters" covers content relevant to everyone who
works or volunteers at an animal shelter in any capacity, whether in the field, the clinic, the front
office or supporting offices because we share equal responsibility for customer service. While seminars are
always helpful, the workbook is designed specifically to be used at any time in all departments and for all staff
and volunteers. It can be used to train new staff, to address problem areas for existing staff,
or during department meetings.
the animal sheltering world is unique, this workbook takes an unconventional approach to customer service
called Customer Smart. You are already animal friendly.
The workbook will help strengthen your skills with people under even the
most difficult circumstances.
The animals benefit if we deal
well with the people!
"Toby Waits," award winning photo by Sumner W. Fowler,