Is keeping up with technology trends on your association’s radar? These three should be on your priority list to ensure a great member experience.

As your association grows and evolves, its needs change. Meanwhile, technology advances aren’t standing still for your association. They’re evolving, too.

Failing to keep up with technology may cause your organization to fall behind in its ability to deliver a great member experience.

Keeping up with member expectations

One of the key reasons to keep up with the latest technology is to ensure you continue to deliver the experience your members have come to expect. In the State of the Connected Customer report, Salesforce found that consumer expectations have hit an all-time high. Consider these statistics from the report:

  • 76 percent of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations.
  • 51 percent of customers say most companies fall short of their expectations for great experiences.
  • 76 percent of customers say it’s easier than ever to take their business elsewhere.

These findings highlight an important point: We’ve all come to expect highly personalized experiences like those provided by Amazon and Netflix. As for-profit companies provide these types of experiences, your members expect the same in more areas of their lives – including their experience with your association.

You must meet, and ideally exceed, member expectations. Otherwise, there’s a good chance their membership will lapse as they take their business elsewhere.

But, are associations really keeping pace with their members’ expectations? A recent report from Salesforce.org, The Fundamentals of Marketing and Engagement at Nonprofit Organizations, suggests they may not be. For example, the report found that about four in five nonprofit marketers rely heavily on batch-and-blast email to communicate with constituents, instead of taking advantage of their constituent data to segment their messaging.

3 technology trends associations should be following

The Enterprise Technology Trends report from Salesforce includes 10 key technology trends impacting IT leaders. Some of those trends, like blockchain technology, are important to have on your radar. But three in particular – system integration, artificial intelligence, and security – are fundamental to your association’s ability to deliver a great member experience that keeps up with member expectations.

System integration

The Enterprise Technology Trends report found that 69 percent of IT leaders say lack of integration causes disconnected customer experiences at their company. Fifty-five percent say system integration is a high priority.

That’s significant. Especially when you also consider this finding from the Salesforce State of the Connected Customer research: Seventy percent of customers consider connected experiences – such as seamless handoffs between departments, and contextualized engagement based on earlier interactions – as very important for winning their business.

Those same consumers who are looking for a connected experience are also your members and prospective members. Delivering the experience your members have come to expect starts with integrated technology systems.

Integrating your systems delivers more than just efficiency and convenience (though, those benefits are important, too). By integrating the technology you rely on for things like membership management, learning management, event management, and career services, you can support a great experience throughout the lifetime member journey.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

According to the Enterprise Technology Trends report, 83 percent of IT leaders say AI is transforming customer engagement. Sixty-nine percent say it’s transforming their business.

AI has changed the way we interact with technology in our everyday lives. Just order something from Amazon and you’ll receive recommendations on the next item Amazon wants you to purchase. Do you watch movies on Netflix? The next movie Netflix suggests to you is also AI at work.

Getting started with AI is well within reach for associations, too. Using Salesforce platform-based Nimble AMS, which leverages the Salesforce Einstein AI technology, associations can become smarter, more predictive, and more in tune with what members need, want, and expect.

Associations can use AI technology to do things like:

  • Create an Amazon-like shopping experience. Recommend new purchases based on past behaviors. Feature “what other members like you purchased” to increase non-dues revenues.
  • Help members find answers through personalized content. Predict the answers members are looking for, and provide that information proactively.
  • Automate aspects of member service by answering common questions. Offer the ability to renew memberships via a chat bot to provide immediate response 24/7 and free up staff time.
  • Use predictive analytics to determine which event location will bring in the highest number of registrations.
  • Use data about past behaviors to predict if a member is unlikely to renew, and then intervene before losing the membership.

Learn more about how to understand, prepare for, and see how easy using AI can be for your association. Read the e-book: What Every Association Should Know About Artificial Intelligence.

Security and trust

Security may not seem like a technology trend. But having cutting edge security helps protect your member data and reduce risk for your association. It also helps you to establish trust with your members.

As your association grows and collects personal information about your members (which fuels personalized communications), you simply can’t afford not to protect your member data.

Here are five important things to look for in your association management software (AMS) system to protect your member data and reduce risk:

  1. Transparency – Your AMS system should provide you with insight, information, and documentation into its system performance and security to promote trust and confidence in its service.
  2. Best practices for data security – To prevent unauthorized access, your AMS system should support data security best practices, including two-factor authentication; login IP ranges; adjustable session timeout thresholds; custom domains; and the latest authentication and encryption protocol, Transport Layer Security (TLS), for browser encryption.
  3. Comprehensive user permissions – Your system should allow only your organization to access its data, and allow your administrator to restrict access so your employees can view and edit only the data they should be able to access in the system, depending on their role with your organization.
  4. Data recovery – To safeguard your data, your AMS system should protect your data from simple data storage errors, catastrophic failures, and everything in between. Also, your AMS system should not hold your data hostage.
  5. Compliance – The most secure AMS systems maintain compliance certifications and attestations to validate their security.

Learn more about these critical data security and performance aspects of an AMS system in the guide, Protect Your Member Data and Reduce Risk by Ensuring System Performance: 7 Things Every Modern Association Should Look for in an AMS System.

Your ability to embrace the latest technology depends heavily on the AMS you use. One of the best ways to prepare for and incorporate technology trends is to use software like Nimble AMS. This industry-leading solution offers continuous delivery, so the product includes and supports the latest and greatest features. In addition, it offers a framework first approach, which ensures the software is as adaptable as possible to take advantage of new technology innovations that are surely headed your way.

Learn more about why Nimble AMS is the most in-demand AMS built on the Salesforce CRM platform.