December 22, 2008

Giving Members What They Expect...

When you dial 411, what do you expect? I expect to receive information that I have called to ask them about, because that's their purpose, and the reason they exist...

In the past two days, I have called 411 twice (once was Vonage's "Enhanced 411" oooh aaah...), without any luck in getting the information I needed. How do you think this has made me feel? I have been extremely frustrated, especially when I have been able to go online immediately after calling and have found the information both times by searching Google...

I think this experience is instructive of how our members sometimes feel when they call our associations, and don't get the information they need when they are looking for it. They feel frustrated and annoyed, which could hurt our chances at retaining them as members when the time comes for them to renew - hurting the association's bottom line.

1. How many times have you heard about members calling and not getting a response in a timely manner?
2. Or, how many times have members been frustrated about the fact that they couldn't get the information they were looking for when they were looking for it?

How associations handle these types of situations is extremely important, and in this right this second culture, members expect to have their questions answered quickly. If they aren't getting what the expect, they may go elsewhere.

What has been your response as an executive to situations like #s 1 and 2 above? How have you helped your staff to understand the importance of member service and member relations? What are you doing to ensure that your staff is meeting the needs of your association's members and giving them what they expect?

The bottom line to me is that the effectiveness of an association is directly correlated to the satisfaction of members, and the satisfaction of members is directly correlated to the effectiveness of the association's staff in giving members what they expect when they expect it.

Am I wrong?

And oh by the way, I have learned my lesson with calling 411 - it won't be happening again. Have your members come to the same conclusion about calling/rejoining your association?