A colleague sent this through the other day. It made me think about how we come over to our volunteers, especially to new people making contact with us the first time.
On the spur of the moment a friend and I went for lunch recently. Unfortunately, as we discovered, our enthusiasm to eat was defeated by the fact that we were on the wrong side of lunch time.
We entered the first restaurant after a quick glance at its appetising menu outside. A staff member approached us smiling and apologised that the kitchen had closed and although normally they could accommodate some late arrivals the Chef had to leave promptly that day. An apology… I find those very seductive; I was beginning to warm to the place. “Although no one is at fault, an apology is nice to hear,” I said to the staff member. My friend wanted to leave but there was more!
“We run special evenings for our customers, when we change our menu. Would you like us to add you to our email list as we have a special night coming soon?,” the helpful staff member continued. A willingness to do something for me, surely this must be a very special place indeed. I gave him my email address and he explained that they would take great care of it and never give it to anyone else. I was reassured. An apology, an offer and a promise to take care of my email address – my friend wanted to leave but there was more!
“If you are back later this week our opening hours are 12 to 3pm and from 6pm to 11pm and we are open all day Saturday and Sunday,” he said. Helpful information; I love to bask in the glow of helpful information. “I like your style, I am definitely coming back,” I replied. My friend wanted to leave but there was more!
“It’s not much but it might prevent you from starving,” the man said with a laugh as he thrust two large bags of organic peppers and red chilli hand cut crisps into our hands. “No cost, just pop in next time you’re about,” he continued. I didn’t even have time to reach for my wallet! I made a quick mental scan of my upcoming diary seeking the first gap I could see. My friend wanted to leave and this time we did. “See you soon,” I shouted to the helpful staff member.
We walked up the street to the next restaurant. We opened the door and a man behind the counter barked, “We’re closed”. We closed his door.
Which restaurant would be the metaphor for your organisation?