Some things we've learned about
We know membership organisations - we’ve worked with many - and, in partnership with our clients, have successfully tackled many of the challenges they face.
We’ve learned what makes a successful membership, as well as what causes them to plunge into pitfalls they could have avoided.
We are also keen and observant members in many organisations ourselves, and have pooled our collective experiences to help brands engage their members in ways that pay back for them and their customers.
We boiled down our knowledge into one simple principle:
The quality of your members’ Experiences is entirely dependent on how well it matches their Expectations.
And so being set up to identify, understand and deliver their Expectations is the single most important member investment you can make.
Eight things we’ve learned about memberships…
Though we know each client and customer base is different, we have found that these core insights are exhibited by almost all successful Membership organisations, ones that are able to effectively set, then meet or exceed their customers’ Expectations.
How many does your organisation do well?
It’s vital to understand why someone joined
Their entire membership experience can be shaped by this question. And how carefully you’re listening.
A new member will tell you just about anything you need
They are at their most keen, interested, engaged and open. It’s a window that happens once.
It’s ALL about understanding their Expectations
Complex services shouldn’t mean complicated delivery
A great member experience depends on the openness and flexibility of your operations and processes. If they’re not aligned and member-focused, your insight will lose its value almost instantly. Lose the silos!
Trust your Members
Being listened to, feeling involved, treated like a stakeholder. These are all powerful means of engaging members. Like any relationship, it works better powered by trust.
Be clear on what behaviours you wish to see
Removing barriers is easier than persuasion, particularly when your and your members’ needs overlap.
Segmentation is paramount and must be member-driven
Members have a multitude of reasons for joining and remaining. This is an opportunity to engage.
Your members are subconsciously scoring your relationship
Imagine every transaction with your Members as a deposit or a withdrawal. This acts as a powerful way to stay member needs-focused.
Understanding Expectations is the ONLY way to deliver the Experience they want
You won’t get to this stage - an engaged membership, segmented according to their needs, a barrier-free process, integrated operations, and a clear objective - if you don’t invest in a properly planned member-focused journey. We do this differently.
A vast range of services were being offered to members ad hoc, and in strange bundles. A small firm of Midlands surveyors might be offered FTSE-style corporate training alongside a conference in Beijing.
To resolve this we created a new member process that focused on understanding their Expectations, both in terms of their mindset and their expected level of engagement. They were asked to ‘activate’ their membership, which gave us all the insight we needed to build a member-focused journey.
Simple and effective.
A professional services membership organisation
Our work revealed that their greatest advocates were service users themselves who were so transformed by their experience that they became not just advocates but actively involved in recruiting and supporting others. The best way to win trust is to show it.
A social impact charity
An important finding from behavioural science is that thinking about the future is hard work - the brain is lazy and prefers to focus on more immediate goals. So, rather than trying too hard to persuade about the long-term, just make it easier to take a simple action that supports a member’s short-term needs.
We applied this insight and found that the best way to encourage students to sit an exam was to focus on the current job prospect benefits of doing so rather than talk about longer-term career aspirations - and to then make the exam sign-up process itself as simple as possible.