By Lisa Matuszewski
On Tuesday, Cheryl Stern shared about her real life scenario about fundraising rewards. Today we hear from
Lisa Matuszewski on the importance of a single customer service interaction.
How does a one-day race turn into a three-day event? I’m part of the team that makes that happen each spring for one of the largest races we produce. For this particular event, many of our participants will register early and receive their event kit with their race bib and T-shirt in the mail. But for those of us, myself included, who were not born with the gene to get things done early, we have On-Site Registration & Event Kit Pick-up. This happens for two days before the race and is ever so smoothly run by a team of amazing volunteers that come back to help out year-after-year.
There is one participant who came to On-Site Registration last year, whose name it would be hard for me to forget, but let’s just call her our sprinter. She earned this title when last year she sprinted 3 miles across town to register before we closed. She got there just as our team was folding up for the day, but not in a million years would we tell a breast cancer survivor who literally ran across town that she’s too late join our event. Using the materials that were not yet put away for the day, our team modified the registration process and scrambled to put together a packet for her, complete with a race bib that included her all-important timing chip.
At the race the next morning, our runner that sprinted last to register was also the first to sprint across the finish line in her category. A few days after the event we had a super sweet reward ready to email to her: a free roundtrip plane ticket. The problem was that no one could find her registration form, she wasn’t in our database, and she wasn’t on our list of registrations. Other than knowing she was darn fast, the only other information that we had was her name, which was thankfully recorded on her timing chip. So we had this great reward for one of our fastest participants, but no way to reach out to her. We could have simply left things there, but instead, I did what we all do when we don’t know the answer to something. I asked Google.
To my absolute delight I found her! She had participated in a race the previous weekend in the same city and had also placed as a top finisher in that race! After counting my lucky stars, I contacted the organizers of this other race and explained the pickle we were in. While initially weirded-out by my impressive cyber-stalking skills, they were gracious enough to pass my phone number along to our elusive sprinter, who called me within a few hours. After explaining to her why we weren’t able to contact her directly, she thanked me for the extra effort we took in locating her so she could claim the great reward she had won.
When our project manager emailed her the airline certificate, she wrote back to not just thank us for the reward, but to compliment us on “an extremely well-organized event.” With that, I knew that despite this bump in the road we created a truly positive experience for our sprinter. Such a positive experience, in fact, that she came back to the race this year and I was lucky enough to meet her in-person. With every live event, things can and will go wrong, but going above and beyond for our event participants – even just ONE participant — is the hallmark of Event 360.
As Associate Manger of Donations, Lisa Matuszewski has more than 10 years of experience overseeing donation operations for a myriad of events.