Taking care of your members should always be at the top of your association’s to-do list. But how can you make sure you’re doing the best job possible?
Whether your association is small-staffed or international, keeping your members happy will always be what helps determine the success of your organization. At the end of the day, the interactions and engagement you have with your members – those who pay dues to keep your association running – should be considered high priority.
In order to make sure your members stay happy and actively engaged with your association, it’s important to keep yourself accountable for the effort you put into servicing members. And luckily for you, there are key steps you can take to make sure you’re doing the most to make members feel valued, appreciated, and at home.
Let’s take a look at four quintessential rules your association should follow when servicing members and making sure they’re satisfied with their membership. With these rules in place, you’ll have a solid foundation for the ultimate success in member satisfaction.
Rule #1: Personal communication is a must.
When managing a large group of members, you may feel like reaching out to each one individually is a hassle. And while this may seem time consuming, it can actually make or break the way your members feel about your association.
At the end of the day, members want to feel like they can have genuine interactions with a real human being who understands their struggles and needs. If you leave members with an automated email or voicemail box, it may be the last time you hear from them.
Putting effort into communicating with your members on a personal level will show them the value you place on their time and money. Getting to know them on a first name basis, recognizing their achievements and anniversaries with your association, and reaching out throughout hardships can give you that personal connection members are longing for.
For associations with large memberships, or associations scrambling to find the time, making personal connections with every member may in fact be impossible. However, with association management or customer-relationship management software, you can use tech tools to help reach members quickly while also creating that personal touch.
Making the effort to know your members on a more personal level will help ensure they feel appreciated and happy with their membership experience.
Rule #2: Provide support and training.
No matter whether a member is brand new or been with your association for many years, offering customer support and training services can help keep them in the know in terms of making the most of their member benefits.
Providing tutorials on your association’s services can cut out a lot of the frustration and questions members may have when interacting with any member interface or website program you have in place. For example, if you use a chat forum or exclusive member web page, you may want to create a guide or video on each feature members can use on this site, as well as how to navigate the space.
You should also provide guides for benefits that require online access or any extra work that may come across as confusing. Does your association host webinars? What about online workshops? If members are not sure how to access these benefits, they may give up entirely, decreasing your member engagement on benefits you work hard to provide. But with a tutorial on these services, you’ll be sure to receive the member interaction you’re looking for.
Similarly, providing constant customer support can help members get any questions or concerns they have answered in a timely manner.
Create a space for members to contact your association’s staff in case of a question, comment, or concern. Whether this is a voicemail box or email address (which is answered by a real member of your staff), there should be a way for members to have their voices heard and responded to by your association.
You can also provide emails that explain any changes that occur at your association giving members tips on how to navigate new features and what they can expect from these changes. By warning members ahead of time, you’ll mitigate any stress due to unexpected change.
Rule #3: Track and execute member complaints.
If your members are coming to your association’s staff with problems or concerns, active listening is not going to be enough to keep them satisfied.
Members want to know that the problems they’re facing with your association’s interface, member benefits, or anything of the sort are actually being addressed from within. Members don’t want your association’s staff to just apologize, they’re looking for active change and a better experience in the future.
This is where complaint tracking and execution comes into play. Your association needs to take ownership for any hardships they cause members, respond to these complaints in a timely manner, and assure members that their problems are being looked into and taken care of.
A great way to do that is to keep members in the loop when troubleshooting issues. Having a space where customers can view their complaint tickets and see if problems are being addressed is a great way to ease their minds when waiting on answers. They can also see how many complaints they’ve submitted, whether or not those complaints have been solved, and what solution your association has come to.
Rule #4: Keep a customer-first mentality
And finally, the most important rule of the bunch: Make sure your association always acts with customers in mind.
Keeping your mentality focused on the satisfaction and happiness of your members will propel you to make decisions and changes based on member needs and wants. You should consider your members in every decision you make, from switching up the software you use, to increasing your dues fees, and anything in between.
You should also be sure to give your members each their own equal share of attention and respect, as well as those interested in joining your association. Treating your potential new members like a welcome part of your community can only increase your chances of recruiting them into your association’s membership.
With your members in mind every step of the way, your association can be sure the decisions it makes are the best for those who matter most.
Keeping your members happy is a tall order to take on, but by implementing some core rules, your association can make sure members get the best treatment possible.
This guest post was contributed by over friends at Web Scribble, a job board platform that helps associations all over the world increase member benefits, member engagement, and non-dues revenues.