Trillium Insights

Thoughts and Insights from Trillium's Practice Leaders

Customer Experience Can Make or Break an Association

Customer Experience Can Make or Break an Association

In the past, the journey of an association member was a simple one – a member would begin working within the profession, they would sign up to become a member of the association, they would attend the annual meeting, and they would hopefully see enough value to purchase non-dues revenue related products(s) or service(s).  This type of interaction led associations to implement function-based systems to support its members and the association as a whole.  Expectations were pretty simple on both sides.

A member’s journey has drastically changed over the past several years and the expectations that members have has changed as well.   Expectations for the value that the association is providing members has also changed.

  • Members are looking for meaningful interactions with the association where they are getting valuable and insightful information and support
  • Members are frustrated by the number, frequency, and generic content of tactical reach outs that associations are making
  • Members are expecting a more integrated level of engagement than they have been receiving in the past
  • Members have easy access to more choices to get relevant content and continuing education

This is driving associations to make major changes in how they interact with their members.  The function-based systems currently in place make it difficult for the association to address this changing demand.  

  • Systems and data need to be integrated – There is a strong need to reduce the number of systems and leverage more of an enterprise view when it comes to interacting with the members.    With data being more tightly integrated and more clearly understood, newer technology including advanced/ predictive analytics make it substantially easier and cost effective for associations to provide a personalized message for its members. 
  • Members are looking for consistency of process – the customer journey needs to be mapped so that there is a consistent process that the member follows, regardless of how the member engages with the association.  This consistency enables the use of technology to further engage with members.
  • Members view an association as one team –when a member reaches out to an association with a problem or a question, they want their problem resolved or their question answered.  They are not concerned about how the association is organized.  The goal is to enable knowledgeable association personnel with the information they need to provide a positive member experience.

Organizations that make the necessary improvements to their customer experience can enhance their brand value with each interaction.  This improved level of engagement can often position the member interactions as revenue generating opportunities.