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Maddie’s Fund, Foundation to give shelters cash for excellent customer service


cute husky adoption photo

Rusty is available for adoption at the Elk County Humane Society in Saint Marys, PA.

In the animal sheltering world, good customer service saves lives. Last year Petfinder visitors were surveyed regarding their experiences adopting pets. While many visitors were committed to adopting no matter what, some reported less-than-stellar experiences. (Read more about our customer service survey here.)

This prompted Maddie’s Fund and the Foundation to promote excellent customer service through the Put Your Best Face Forward grant. Here’s a list of 2009 grant winners.

This year, we have once again joined Maddie’s Fund to award Petfinder shelters and rescue groups a total of $51,000 for providing great customer service. By
sending the message that it’s important to take care of adopters as well as animals, we can save lives.

The first step in good customer service is to capitalize on the public’s
enthusiasm for adopting by responding right way. The second step is to
make a potential adopter’s experience positive and helpful.

From July 19 to September 24, we will be awarding cash prizes to
Petfinder shelters and rescue groups who demonstrate excellent customer
service. It is our hope that the prizes will encourage shelters and
rescues to assess their customer service and improve it if it is

Here’s how the Put Your Best Face Forward grant program works:

  • Rescue groups — Check your e-mail!
    Each week, an “adopter” (really a representative from the
    Foundation!) will e-mail three randomly selected Petfinder member
    rescue groups with questions about an available dog or cat posted on
    If helpful information is provided about that animal within 24
    hours, the rescue group wins $500.
  • Shelters — Answer the phone!
    Each week, an “adopter” will call three randomly selected Petfinder
    member shelters with questions about an available cat or dog posted on
    If a live person answers the phone and provides helpful
    information about that animal (or connects the caller to someone who
    does), the shelter wins $500.
  • Shelters — Be there with a winning smile!
    An “adopter” will visit one randomly selected shelter in a different
    state each week.
    If the “adopter” reports that the experience at the shelter was
    positive, pleasant and helpful, the shelter wins $2,000.

In addition, two shelters — one previously contacted via e-mail and one
previously contacted via phone — who did not qualify for a cash prize
will randomly be selected for a chance to win a Second Chance prize. The
two lucky Second Chance shelters who meet the criteria above will be
awarded a Second Chance prize of $500!

Because both Maddie’s Fund and the Foundation support
excellent customer service, all shelters and rescue groups that were
contacted during the contest will be given copies of the book Animal Friendly-Customer Smart: People Skills for Animal
by Jan Elster.

Do you know a shelter or rescue group with great customer service? Tell
us below

Learn more about the Maddie’s Fund customer service awards program.

View our weekly winners here!

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