Four ideas from the retail world for your association’s member service

Four ideas from the retail world for your association’s member service

Want to provide your members with great service? Of course — what association doesn’t?

A great way to provide better member service is to consider your own experience at your favorite retailers. If you think about it, we tend to frequent stores that make things easy on us and provide us with a great customer experience. The same goes for your members and your association.

In the 2020 State of the Connected Customer 4th edition report, Salesforce found that consumer experiences fall significantly short of customer expectations. Consider these statistics from the report:

  • 52% of customers expect offers to always be personalized — up from 49% in 2019
  • 66% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations, but feel that only
  • 35% of companies generally treat customers as unique individuals
  • 76% of customers expect consistent interactions across departments.

These findings highlight an important point: We’ve all come to expect great customer experiences like those provided by popular retailers. 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.

So, how can you take your association’s member service to the next level?

Four ideas from the retail sector to apply to your association’s member service 
Here are four ideas to help you keep pace with (and even exceed) your members’ expectations for a great customer experience:

  1. Delight members with special offers. 
    Your members will have a better experience and want to stick around if they see extra value from their membership with your association. Just think about when you check out at one of your favorite retailers and the cashier says, “Since you’re purchasing these two items, you can have another for free if you want!” Does that make you pleasantly surprised? Translate this idea to your members by surprising and delighting them with special offers and deals on merchandise and programs. For example, when they purchase an item online, offer them a coupon code for a special discount on another related items, such as branded merchandise, or a discount on an upcoming continuing education event.
  2. Provide an engaging and personalized e-commerce experience. 
    Give your members the same type of dynamic, personalized shopping experience they’re used to from leading retailers that they can access via any device. Provide them with a central location where they can manage their account, renew their membership, view and purchase merchandise and learning products, register for events, and make donations – all within a familiar online shopping experience.You can also tie in email automation and artificial intelligence-enhanced ecommerce to do things like suggest items that might interest them base on their past activity and ask if they have questions about items in their shopping cart.
  3. Make cancelling/returning easy. 
    Purchases don’t always turn out the way we expect. Sometimes the item we purchase isn’t what we really wanted. Or, we decide we no longer need the item. Often, the retailers we like the most are the ones that make it easy to cancel an order or return an item.The same goes for your members. While you never want to lose a sale, a frustrating cancel/return process can lead to a poor member experience. Make it easy for members to cancel an event RSVP, merchandise purchase, and, yes, even the membership itself. This will leave each member with a positive impression of your association.
  4. Make customer service a breeze. 
    When you have a question or need assistance, don’t you prefer retailers that make the customer service process hassle-free? So do your members.Research suggests that almost 80 percent of consumers prefer live chats versus phone calls. One way to give members a great experience is to add a live chat option to your association’s website. Live chat gives your members a way to reach you immediately when you are unable to be near the office phone.

Keep in mind that having modern technology is the foundation for providing great member service that rivals that of popular retailers. Your association management technology should allow you to easily collect and analyze member data and then use it to deliver personalized content. Learn how by downloading the whitepaper below.

How can you be sure your organization is giving members what they want?

To keep members around for the long haul, it’s important to continually evaluate your organizational strategy to ensure you’re providing value and a positive experience throughout the member journey. While members typically join an association to develop and grow their careers, they get value from the organizations to which they belong in different ways along their career journey.

Nimble AMS can help you manage every aspect of your association so you can keep your members happy and engaged. From creating and managing a stellar membership experience to processing orders, managing events, and analyzing your organization’s data, Nimble AMS helps your entire team succeed.

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