Regardless of what industry you work in, we’re ALL in the people business. For your members to renew, they need to be happy...and it’s hard to be happy with subpar customer service.
Now there’s a difference between good customer service and great customer service. What’s the difference? A lot of it has to do with these five skills, in particular:
You’ve heard it before, and it still holds true to this day: “The only constant in life is change.”
Industries change. Member wants, needs, and values change. Member demographics change. So, to continuously delight your members, it’s important for your organization to change with them.
To keep up with what’s changing and what needs to change, survey your members frequently. The surveys don’t need to be long (we know soliciting feedback can be a challenge), but they do need to be thoughtful. Ask your members about their wants, pain points, preferred communication styles, social media networks of choice, etc. And when you get that feedback, if it’s reasonable and doable, try acting upon it — or at least addressing it in the interim if it’s a project that’s going to take a while.
Yes, change is hard. But the more adaptable your association or chamber can be, the more relevant you’ll remain.
Empathy goes a LONG way with people. Think about the times you feel annoyed, frustrated, disappointed, or stressed. You may feel the need (or desire) to vent to someone because you want to feel heard and affirmed in your emotions.
Well, your members want that too. Chances are, at some point, a member is going to get frustrated with your organization. When that happens, be empathetic. Listen, try to understand where they’re coming from, and apologize.
Empathy breeds empathy, so if you can remember to see the human in them (despite any rude comments or harsh tones), they’ll likely start to see the human in you, and be reminded that we ALL make mistakes.
3. Clear communication skills
The key to any good relationship is communication, and that includes the relationship you have with your members. Poor communication yields confusion, frustration, skepticism, and distrust — none of which you want to bestow upon your members.
Keep your members in the loop. Be transparent. Avoid vague and fluffy language. Clear communication will benefit you ALL.
This is a customer service skill that will set your organization apart. People — younger generations, in particular — value authenticity. They can spot a sales-centric message from a mile away — quite literally!
So, if you want to build a genuine connection with your members, you have to be more genuine in your communications. Be personable, down to earth, and honest. Your members will feel more connected to you, which in turn, builds loyalty.
5. A willingness to go the extra mile
This is another customer service skill that will set you apart (in the best way possible, of course!). Any chance you get to go the extra mile for your members, do it! Even if it’s just a small gesture that will only impact one or a couple of your members (a handwritten note during the holiday season, for example), it’s worth that extra time and effort. Gestures like that build a lasting impression, which not only play into renewals, but word-of-mouth recommendations as well.
Speaking of renewals, delivering exceptional customer service is really just the start. To ensure your members are getting everything they want and need from your organization, from the moment they join to the moment it’s time to renew, check out our free guide below.
Note: This post was originally published on 7/8/19, but updated on 11/11/20 for added value.