How your association can leverage automation and AI to be more in tune with what members want.

What Automation Can Do for Your Association

Workflow automation and artificial intelligence technologies can make associations more efficient and more in tune with what members want. Here’s more about these automation technologies, what they can do for your association, and how to start using them.

You’ve probably heard about workflow automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. They can make an organization smarter, more effective, and more efficient.

These automation technologies have started to catch the attention of associations. In fact, according to the 2019 Community Brands Digital Evolution Study, those working at professional member organizations (“Pros”) indicate that workflow automation and artificial intelligence are emerging areas for technology investment at the associations where they work. In fact, 24 percent say they plan to invest in workflow automation. Four percent say they have invested in AI technology, and 15 percent plan to invest.

But here’s something interesting: In the same study, only two percent of Pros said they use AI, compared with four percent from the Community Brands 2017 Digital Member Study. This might suggest that use of automation tools like AI is declining.

However, nine percent of Pros also indicate that they offer a virtual assistant. And since virtual assistants and chatbots are simple forms of AI, this suggests that organizations do not fully understand what AI is.

So maybe it’s time to take a closer look at what workflow automation and AI are, and what they can do for your association.

Workflow automation and associations

With the fast pace of digital communications in today’s evolving business world, workflow automation has taken on even more significance for associations. Efficiency means everything. It’s increasingly important to automate as many manual processes as possible so your staff can spend more time creating a great member experience.

What is workflow automation technology?

Workflow automation refers to technology that allows you to automate processes. You set up business rules in the software that automatically route data and files between people and systems. This allows you to save time by automating routine, manual tasks.

Getting started with workflow automation is easier than you might think

Nimble AMS leverages Salesforce Process Builder to allow associations to save valuable staff time by automating complex business processes. Without code, associations can specify process criteria to do things like automatically update or create new records, emails, and tasks or submit approval requests – all in a few simple steps.

How associations can use workflow automation

Here are a few examples of ways your association can use workflow automation technology:

Application processes: American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) uses Salesforce-based workflow functionality with Nimble AMS and their membership data to automate hundreds of processes, including their fellowship application process. The ASSH/Nimble AMS case study goes into more detail about how the organization is creating new efficiencies by automating processes.

Email communications to members: Automate email communications to members based on members’ actions, such as registering for an event or paying membership dues. For example, when members join your organization and pay their annual dues, they can receive an automated email confirmation for joining that includes a receipt of payment. The action that triggers this workflow is a new member joining and paying the annual membership dues.

Membership renewal: The Community Brands Member Loyalty Study found that 13 percent of lapsed members simply forgot to renew. One of the best ways to address this issue is to offer an option to automatically renew membership, with the membership fee charged to the member’s credit card. Your technology should allow you to set up this option, with corresponding automated emails that notify members when their membership has been renewed.

Reports: Schedule important, timely membership reports to send automatically via email to yourself or executive management. For example, set up a workflow to automatically send a monthly membership summary to your executive director and board of directors.

Artificial intelligence and associations

AI is changing the way we interact with technology in our everyday lives. Leading companies like Netflix and Amazon use AI to connect with consumers and provide the personalized experiences we’ve all come to expect.

Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report points to the significance of artificial intelligence for businesses. It found that a majority of customers (51 percent) say their expectations are already impacted by AI. In addition, the study found that 59 percent of customers are open to companies using AI to improve their experiences.

As for-profit companies provide increasingly personalized experiences using AI to meet consumer expectations, your members will expect the same in more areas of their lives ― including their experience with your association.

What is AI technology?

Simply put, AI is technology that simulates human intelligence. This technology essentially mimics human “thinking” using complex algorithms, or sets of rules that are followed in calculations and other problem-solving operations.

Getting started with AI technology is well within reach for associations

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. Many Nimble AMS customers are already piloting Salesforce Prediction Builder, which enables true point-and-click AI.

These organizations can ask Einstein to give guidance and make predictions and then empower staff with tools to act upon what it finds. An example: It can create a call down list for your membership director of high value members that are most likely not to renew.

How associations can use AI

Here are some examples of ways associations could be using AI technology:

Guide the member experience through intelligent chatbots, suggested next steps, and products. For example, much like the familiar Amazon-like shopping experience, you can recommend new purchases based on past behaviors and “what other members like you purchased” to increase non-dues revenues.

Help members find answers through personalized content, predicting the answers that members are looking for, and providing that information proactively.

Automate aspects of member service, such as answering/assisting with common questions or renewing a membership via a chat bot or digital assistant 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.

Take the next step

Nimble AMS makes AI and process automation a reality for today’s associations. Learn more about how Nimble AMS can help your organization become more efficient and more in tune with what members want.

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