Membership Space Blog: Insights for Effective Management

Posted on February 3, 2020 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Membership websites take a lot of work for most organizations and that not only applies to setting them up but also towards maintaining them.  Fortunately, the results they deliver make it worth the effort as they allow you to increase customer satisfaction and profit margins.

However, it can be a challenging task to migrate an online community in a timely manner.  Such undertakings can test the patience of those doing the migration as it takes a lot of determination to stay the course.  If you need help staying calm during this difficult period, consider these helpful tips.

Some membership websites have a hard time surviving such transitions without planning.  It’s best to set some key performance indicators that you can use to measure your success before and after the migration.  You should also engage others to identify the features and functions they need to perform their duties once the migration is complete.

Anyone that has ever had to move understands the importance of labeling all the items.  The same is true when it comes to migrating an online community.  Start by making a list of all the content that will make the transition to the new platform.  This is an important step that keeps you from losing any vital components.
Only Retain Necessary Content

In some organizations, clutter is likely to accumulate over time depending on a few factors.  Once you determine where the online community will be migrating to, do your best to identify what is absolutely required in order to get everything up and running efficiently.  Retain that content and get rid of the rest.  The more content you have to move, the more work that needs to be done which could introduce additional delays.

Even if you take your time to meticulously outline and execute your plan, many things can still go wrong.  During those times, try to remember that migrations are necessary and any challenges you face today will eventually lead to greater success down the line.
Posted on January 27, 2020 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Events are far more effective at getting results for organizations than most people realize.  They provide an avenue for members and visitors to interact in an energetic but productive environment.  Individuals are also given the opportunity to make connections with others that could share valuable advice.  But, how can these events be used to improve online engagement?  At the very least, they should spark additional conversations even after the event has ended.
Access To Relevant Information

Some organizations start by turning their club websites into accurate and in-depth hubs of information that people can use to get updates about the event.  Show them how they can register and participate in the conversation surrounding the event.  This helps initiate online engagement about the event even before it takes place.  You could also use this opportunity to identify areas of the event in which your members show the most interest.
Mobile Event App

Have you considered offering your members a mobile app for the event?  While club websites enable conversations before and after the event, a mobile app will help members stay connected during an event.  As a result, this keeps all your guests up-to-date and allows you to collect valuable feedback regarding their experience.
Questions & Answers

One of the easiest ways to compel guests and participants to volunteer feedback is to have them ask questions during your event.  But it isn’t enough to receive and answer these questions.  A few organizations post the questions to their club websites and this serves as a reminder for them to discuss it afterwards.

Some questions compel members to post their own questions and that can be used to customize their experience in the future.  With all of these approaches, the objective is to give your members a reason to interact with one another.  Ultimately, events provide a platform for conversations to be more frequent and that usually improves overall engagement.
Posted on January 15, 2020 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
One topic that gets brought up in associations is how to attract and keep new members.  Many of them can’t rely solely on the latest membership management software since people are quite demanding these days.  Some potential members want value on their own terms and they expect you to make their life as convenient as possible.  If an association is already struggling to maintain steady growth, it may be time for them to deploy more advanced tech tools.
Online Value

The easiest way to attract and retain members is to show that you care about their personal and professional growth.  You can do this by providing online learning tools that members can use to continue their education.  This is a great way to add value to your members.

Membership management software can really provide value when it comes to mentoring new members.  Use it to connect experienced members with ambitious people that need guidance.  Often, there will be mentors that have set goals and want to focus their professional skills on helping others.  When this happens, mentee are granted access to firsthand knowledge regarding personal and career objectives they wish to achieve.
Data Collection

Sometimes, the easiest way to attract and retain more members is to make their experience as pleasant and fulfilling as possible.  You can do this by using automated tools to acquire vital feedback from members.  Then use that information to create activities and campaigns that are designed to engage old members while attracting new ones.
Mobile Apps

Several associations require an online app for community members to stay in touch with one another at all times, even if they travel abroad.  The right app will enable members to participate in discussions, stay in the know about news, and enjoy the benefits of membership from any location.  In this day and age, most associations that want to grow in the future must innovate and adapt which involves using any technology to keep members engaged!
Posted on January 9, 2020 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Designers of membership websites have likely spent the last few months planning for 2020.  It’s never too early to start thinking about the future, especially for organizations whose operations are heavily intertwined with technology.  However, is there a way to ensure that your plans for 2020 are effective?  In most cases, guarantees can’t be made but there are factors that all membership websites are encouraged to keep in mind when laying out a blueprint for this year.
Artificial Intelligence

Many people use some form of artificial intelligence, they just don’t realize it.  Most organizations have automated email communications and other forms of communication.  But a lot of organizations fail to utilize artificial intelligence as efficiently as they should.  Often, they rely solely on data collection to plan for the future.
While surveys are useful, they are also flawed because some people may not answer them honestly.  In order to plan for the future, you must understand the behavior of your target market.  When you combine data collections with artificial intelligence, it will help you understand the behavior of your target market.  Data analytics is essential for organizations that want to accurately predict future outcomes.

Sustainable growth rarely happens without collaboration.  Today, everyone understands the importance of acquiring a variety of systems for individual problems.  Organizations must learn to create a collaborative environment between these systems if they want to advance.

Better yet, make sure that you acquire tech tools that are inherently designed to work together.  The ideas above suggest that you have to deploy a brand new suite of technological tools and data collection mechanisms.  But, that isn’t necessarily true.  In many cases, the key to success is to use the technology you already have, especially with any digital transformation.

Some administrators are unaware that the solutions to their problems can be found using the technology they already obtained.  This is why they are encouraged to take an inventory of their tools to ensure they are maximizing the full potential of all the hardware and software in their possession.
Posted on December 11, 2019 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
An organization may not ever thrive without delivering an extraordinary customer experience.  So, how can you differentiate your customer experience?  This is a question that many organizations should be thinking about because you want to ensure that you stand out from the competition.

The main objective is to turn your association into the one place where members feel the most comfortable and want to return.  Initially, this might seem difficult but it’s often much simpler than most people realize.
A Variety Of Options

Some modern customer support mechanisms are so advanced that they have complicated the customer experience.  Members want convenience so give them a variety of avenues in which they can interact with your brand.  Aside from that, make sure your club websites are attractive and effective at getting traffic.  Never limit your clients to one option today as there are also text messages and social media.

If you can’t afford to optimize the aspects that affect the customer experience in your association, try engaging clients in a more heartfelt way.  Make your association less of a business and more about a place in which the members know each other and are in frequent contact with the people that run the association.

Club websites ensure that communication is easy and more convenient.  The purpose of connecting members to one another and to the organization is to nurture loyalty.  Loyal customers are not as critical of mistakes and usually enjoy donating their time to help others.

If you have the resources, make an effort to maintain consistency.  Identify all the areas that could be improved and assign competent employees to resolve them.  When you have a clear picture of what your visitors and members encounter once they discover your association, you can take steps to increase the odds that their time is as rewarding as possible.
Posted on December 2, 2019 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Online communities are vital to any organization that wants to engage their customers without relying on the traditional forms of communication.  Yet, many companies fail to realize that when they create online communities, they give members a platform to complain or express their negative opinion.

In fact, some organizations find this sort of verbal attack so demoralizing that they consider changing their membership management software just to have better control over their communities or disable comments.  This might seem like a great idea, but the best way to deal with negative feedback is to confront it.
Own The Conversation

Today, there are many outlets for people to share their thoughts and most of them will express their negative opinion regardless of whether you like it or not.  If they can’t make a post directly to your online community, they typically use some other platform.

Look at negative feedback within your online community as a chance to control the conversation and prove to members that you care.  First, try to respond to reasonable complaints in a timely manner.  Engage each person directly so they know that you value their opinions.  Secondly, be transparent.  Don’t be afraid to reveal mistakes that resulted in your client giving negative feedback.
React To The Noise

Rather than just listening or reading what your customer base has to say, set aside some time to react to it.  Note all of the weaknesses presented by your clients and take steps to address them.  Customers usually want tangible proof that you have taken their feedback seriously and that means taking concrete steps to bring about change.

You should frequently evaluate your membership management software to ensure it meets the needs of your organization.  When clients make their disappointments known in a professional manner, try to resolve the complaint so fewer people have negative feedback!
Posted on November 18, 2019 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Companies that are successful long-term need to keep their customers happy and this is why customer support personnel are very important.  Many organizations require a team of experts standing by to ensure they can resolve any customer issues.  Though, customer support is sometimes so expensive that several firms choose to neglect it.

They fail to realize that they can cut customer support costs drastically by relying on their online community.  Customers have an extensive source of knowledge that membership websites appreciate but many companies tend to ignore.  Often, they just don’t realize that customers can provide valuable support to one another.
Manage Support Tickets

When you tap into the knowledge of customers in your community, you significantly reduce the number of tickets your customer support staff receives.  If a customer has a question, create an option on your platform that points them to similar topics that were resolved by other customers.  Membership websites do this all the time; they connect customers with similar concerns which eliminates the need for support tickets.
Monitoring Online Activities

In order for this approach to be effective, activity must be monitored in the community.  If the same questions keep surfacing, encourage your staff to provide definitive answers.  When customers post their questions on the community page, that isn’t an excuse for your customer support team to disconnect.  Instead, it gives your team the time they need to find answers at their own pace.  It also allows them to remain aware of customer concerns before they are raised officially through the ticketing system.

An online community can lower your customer support costs but it can’t replace your customer support team.  Customers may know a lot but they usually don’t know as much as your experts.  To get the best results, you should combine the two and integrate the ticketing system with your online community.
Posted on November 7, 2019 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Most organizations wish they had the resources required to give their customers the attention they deserve but this isn’t possible.  In many cases, there are certain aspects that have to be prioritized first.  For instance, you need to find those risky customers that might not renew their account so you can take the necessary steps to secure their loyalty.

But, how can you identify those type of customers in the first place?  Believe it or not, there are signs of trouble and they aren’t that difficult to recognize once you start actively looking for them.
The Reviews

When a customer isn’t pleased, they often speak out.  Some of them prefer to post their complaints on social media.  If you have club websites, negative feedback might be directed to such platforms since they want their dissatisfaction to be noticed.  Any kind of straightforward negativity is a clear sign that customers are unhappy.  Once you take note of these complaints, immediate action should be taken to provide solutions.
Survey Results

Other organizations don’t have club websites to browse for negative feedback.  In such cases, you can always rely on the NPS survey results.  Most competent organizations make an effort to regularly survey their customers.  Detractors or even neutral scores are a sign that there could be issues.
The Online Community

What happens when you don’t have access to easily detectable signs?  In these cases, you need to explore your online community.  Risky customers tend to leave sarcastic or questionable comments.  If there are no heated exchanges, look for customers that are not active as the absence of interaction is also a warning sign.
To be clear, none of these signs on their own prove that a customer is thinking about abandoning an organization.  But two or three of these at the same time is a good indication that you need to act quickly before you lose a valuable member.
Posted on October 21, 2019 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Business experts are always emphasizing the importance of customer service and how it impacts the revenue of their company.  Some companies have gone to great lengths to enhance the experience their customers encounter when they walk through the door.  But, does the customer experience really matter or is it just a luxury that only the largest companies can afford?  One study determined that a positive customer experience can elevate a company’s earnings by a considerable margin.

To some extent, customer experience determines the loyalty your company generates in clients, both old and new, and whether they are more or less likely to buy from your company again.  In turn, this directly impacts revenue retention.  Software companies tend to benefit the most in this arena as they earn over $300 million a year from their existing customers alone.

Even if you only offer membership management software and your growth seems to have stalled out, your membership may still prosper.  A positive customer experience will encourage those customers you already have to stick with you long-term.

Though many organizations have thrived with membership management software alone, there is always room for growth.  Try to think of ways to expand your reach by providing excellent customer experiences.  If your customers are happy, they’ll do more than just come back.  They will tell others they know about your software and where they can go to learn more about it.  Excellent customer experiences can turn your clients into your biggest promoters, which typically elevates sales.

According to one study, 88% of customers that are happy with their experience are more likely to refer a company to their colleagues.  More importantly, software firms that offer an exceptional customer experience can add up to $185 million to their revenue.  Those numbers should be enough to encourage you to alter the way you treat your customers!
Posted on October 2, 2019 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Very few members understand what it takes to build a well-performing team.  Often, members ask questions regarding this and membership websites struggle to answer it, even though teams are nothing new to most people.  It’s highly likely that some of your classes in school were spent teaching you how to work together in a group.  Schools teach team skills since they usually continue to serve you well into the future.

Yet, most membership websites will note that high performing teams are difficult to build.  If your team is struggling to meet your expectations, you have probably failed to put one of the following three critical elements in place.
A Common Goal

Nearly every team needs to have a shared goal.  The only way to get people from different backgrounds on the same page is to give them a shared goal.  As a result, they will have a purpose in which they can collaborate with other members.  Teams tend to fall apart in the absence of shared dreams.  In some cases, the goals are present but they haven’t been properly articulated.

In order for a team to work seamlessly towards a shared goal, they must be given a simple and effective means of communicating.  Discussion forums are typically adequate in filling this role as they provide a platform that all members can access.  Though, you could probably get your message across with email, especially when sharing documents.
Maintain Deadlines

High-performing teams have deadlines and they almost always meet them.  A deadline puts the kind of pressure on a team that requires members to come together.  Deadlines also help teams hold their members accountable.  This is because most team activities can only succeed if every member is doing their part.
Well-performing teams don’t happen by accident.  You need to take proactive steps to ensure there’s cooperation between your members.  That means providing collaborative tools, systems of record, and documents that are easy to share.
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Since 2001, we have been helping association leaders more efficiently manage their day-to-day responsibilities and increase member satisfaction. Our membership management software automates common tasks and gives associations the tools, reporting and support they need.