Thinking about the businesses you frequent, why do you do so? Do they offer something you can’t get elsewhere? Do they make you feel good, welcomed, satisfied?
In order to provide extraordinary value to your members and improve retention, you must offer something they can’t get elsewhere. Cornering the market on a service or an experience guarantees renewals, but if that’s not a possibility, improving your customer service can do wonders for member retention and recruitment.
3 Basic Customer Service Skills Your Association Should Be Using
For people trained in customer service these basic skills become second nature. They can for your staff as well.
Exercise Good Listening
This is more than just paying attention when someone is talking to you, or signing up for your association’s name under Google Alerts. As an association membership professional you need to listen to your members in the words that they choose, the body language they display, and the tone in their communications (which includes contributions in your private online community).
You need to ask them what they think and how they feel professionally. Ask them for input on plans you have for the association. Get them involved and respond to what you’re hearing.
The other component of good listening is being available to do so. This means being present at meetings, conferences, on social media, via phone, etc. If you’re not there (physically and mentally), you won’t be a good listener.
Be Your Members
People don’t pay association membership dues because it’s expected (anymore). They pay them because they want to be a part of what you’re offering or you solve a problem for them. Identify that problem and communicate how you solve it and you’ve just worked out your marketing strategy and fixed your retention problems.
Anyone with access to reliable information can answer a question. Giving the right answer isn’t good customer service, even if you add in a smile. You’re merely meeting expectations.
Giving the right answer to the question being asked, and the one the member/customer hasn’t yet thought to ask, is good customer service. Anticipate your members’ future needs before they are aware of them and the impression you make will be indelible.
What’s your favorite customer service fundamental and how do you apply it to your members?