Member Obsession: Developing Total Quality Member Loyalty
"Will Today's Members Be With You Tomorrow?"
I'm sure every association and association executive passed this test with flying colors. But if your association was "mystery shopped" by an outsider, would your staff fare as well? When it comes to Member Obsession, it's your staff's people skills that make the difference.
"If these damn members wouldn't bother me and complain all of the time, I'd be able to get my work done." Let me see if I got this right: The members (customers) "bother" this employee. Without members there would be no association, thus no job.
Does this staff person realize it is the members that pay their salary? And when a member complains, consider profusely thanking this member because he or she has just provided you with priceless advice - free of charge.
Are members an imposition for your staff? If so or if it just seems that way, then quality is suffering. Your members are being cheated out of their share of value. Does your staff come in each morning eager to take phone calls and respond to e-mails of your members? If not, then they (a) should be working elsewhere, (b) are burned out, or (c) need a shot of motivation, sometimes referred to as retraining or to some association executives, a kick in the butt.
Still not convinced your association needs to become more member-obsessed? Let me share some hard facts to consider:
Consider the relationship the majority of your members have with your association. Most are passive members having minimal, if any, contact with your staff. However when they do, they need to be treated as if they were your only member. Further, consider the profile of your typical loyal dues-paying member: may, but often doesn't attend your annual meeting or educational conference, seldom purchases publications, and rarely gets involved if at all.
To grow more loyal members, develop a strategic Member Obsession plan? As you ask yourself, "What in the world is that?" It's essentially a marketing plan to determine how you can better serve your members better this year than last year. Imagine if you could add just one more benefit each year for your members in return for their yearly dues check. Your local bank, supermarket, favorite hotel, airline, and internet companies do it. Why not your association?
Here's why: It requires creative thinking on the part of your staff. Many will respond, "We give them enough already for their money, and you want us to do more?" You would take your own business elsewhere if any merchant in your own community said that to you. Member Obsession requires hiring and training perfect people to serve your members and convert them into loyal members for life.