Tip of the Week: At Your Service

This week, we take a closer look at word usage, and how it can impact your relationships with the folks who come through your doors.

What is the job title for your front desk employees? Inquiring minds in The Association’s members-only Facebook group want to know, recently sharing that “customer service representative” doesn’t do it anymore.

For many organizations seeking to grow their relationships with the people and pets they serve, the term “customer” may sound impersonal and transactional. “Client services,” on the other hand, may connote a relationship that’s more personal and ongoing.  

And if you look at it from the point of view of a potential employee seeking work in a mission-driven environment, would you rather apply for “Customer Service Associate” or “Community Resources Coordinator?”

Can we find more terms that support the idea of a shelter as a community resource? Here are some suggestions from your colleagues in the field:

  • Animal Client Service Coordinator
  • Client Services
  • Shelter Receptionists
  • Guest Relations Associate
  • Guest Services Associate
  • Customer Care Associate
  • Customer Care Manager
  • Matchmaker
  • Client Coordinator
  • Front Desk Coordinator
  • Community Resources Coordinator
  • Director of First Impressions

What are these important community-facing roles called at your agency? Got a suggestion? Leave a comment and share with your colleagues.

More Tips & Info

Tip of the Week: Hit the Breaks
Tip of the Week: Go Ahead, Make Your Day
Tip of the Week: 5 Ideas for Minimizing Distractions
From Forbes: 5 Tips to Move From Transactional to Meaningful Customer Relationships

Photo: Open Door Veterinary/Facebook


The Association is the only international society of leaders actively leading and managing community animal shelters/animal control agencies.


'Tip of the Week: At Your Service' has 1 comment

  1. July 7, 2022 @ 11:14 am Hope Wilson

    Our Shelter has recently switched to Animal Resource Specialist. We have eliminated assigning 1 role to an employee such as adoption counselor or receptionist. Now, we have multiple ARSs who’s role is to handle whatever it is the “customer” needs. They are cross training on all of our programs and policies so they can answer questions, resolve issues, provide assistance and review adoption applications. With a limited budget and staff, we felt we could provide better, more prompt service with this structure.


Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

2020 Copyright The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement