Let me admit something right off the bat: Despite the title of this article, great associations may not actually do everything in this article every single day. But the truth is, at the very least, they’re likely considering them every day.
After working for nearly a decade in association- and member services-related roles, I’ve learned a few things that great associations incorporate into their day-to-day world to foster and grow member loyalty. Here are five of them:
1. Consider the member point of view. Your members’ needs and expectations are always changing. Are you doing all you can to give them a stellar experience? What better way to find out than to walk a (virtual) mile in their shoes?
One way great associations see the member experience from the members’ point of view is to create member journey maps. Journey maps are simply outlines of each step of a member experience that tell the full story of being a member and illustrate the member experience – from their first interaction and subsequent engagement to (you hope) a lifelong relationship. While you wouldn’t create a journey map every day, it’s important to create a journey map every year, and then ensure you’re executing on it every day.
2. Stay up to date on technology trends. I know, it can be tough to stay on top of changing technology. But the truth is, your members are living in the same rapidly-changing tech world that you’re living in. And, their expectations are continually evolving. Understanding the role technology plays in members’ lives helps great associations determine how to better communicate with and serve members in the most effective and efficient way.
3. Personalize the member experience. Most associations understand the importance of creating a personalized member experience to make members feel special and to make their membership seem more valuable. However, there’s often a disconnect between what association teams think members want and what members actually want. Great associations continuously research and read up on how to personalize the member experience in ways that truly meet member expectations.
4. Leverage members. As you plan various member programs, make changes to your website, or generally do anything that will directly impact your members, make plans to get your members involved. Great associations host focus groups and/or special interest groups to gain rapid feedback on new programs they want to bring to market. This process is especially important if you want to make any changes to how members interact with your association.
5. Remember the work culture. This may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to better serving members, but consider this: Teams that work in a positive, collaborative environment typically serve their members with the same upbeat, collaborative attitude. Great associations work every day to cultivate a positive work culture, knowing that it will extend to the member experience.