Joanne and I are in Washington DC this week for a couple of key speaking and meeting commitments. I noticed that there was going to be an event here in Washington DC on the Friday night while we were here that I was interested in attending. So 23 days prior to the event I sent a message to the organization offering to help usher people to their seats, distribute programs, or whatever would be useful. I didn’t pull some big “I’m important” card or anything – just said we would be willing to help in any way that would be useful. I heard nothing – and frankly, I forgot I had even sent the note. On the day of the event, I received this message in reply.
Thank you for your e-mail to Joel Osteen Ministries. We appreciate your interest in volunteering for a Joel Osteen Ministries tour event. To sign up, you will need to first register using the “register now” link located at the upper right corner of the website. After registration, you will automatically be directed to the sign up page to choose a team to volunteer. If you have previously registered, the website will not allow a second registration. You will need to login with the username and password that was provided to you upon initial registration with the website. If you have forgotten your password, you will need to choose the “forgot password” option located on the login page and your password will be e-mailed to you.
Thank you and God bless,
You’ve got to be kidding — no personal greeting – and then this complicated process of signing up to help? I would have been fine if I had gotten an immediate autoresponder that just said they had all the arrangements made. Or that they had a training session scheduled for all volunteers two weeks in advance. But this impersonal maze of roadblocks sent on the same day as the event served nothing more than to irritate me, and to discourage me from any connection at all.
Bigger is not always better. If getting bigger has caused you to lose a personal connection with your customers, clients, friends or congregants, you are in danger of following the pattern of Enron, WorldCom, Sears, Bear Stearns or Countrywide. Even God’s work doesn’t get a pass for lousy customer service.