Becoming More Member-Centric: Putting Your Members at the Centre of Your Association

Becoming More Member-Centric: Putting Your Members at the Centre of Your Association

When it comes to knowing our members we need to do a better job of anticipating their needs. In the oft-quoted words of Wayne Gretzky, we need to “skate to where the puck is going, not to where it’s been.”

The typical member survey is essentially a report card. It gives you solid feedback on such things as your educational and communication offerings. But the questions tend to be association-centric not member-centric.

Often they do little to enhance our understanding of our members’ challenges and problems. They don’t give us much information on how, we the association, can help members be more successful and get to where they want to go. They’re good at looking back on where we’ve been but less useful at helping us map a path for the future.

Member surveys have their place. But I think the future lies in doing a better job at getting to know the full spectrum of our membership – from our fans to our detractors. Who are our biggest supporters and why do they love us?  How can we collaborate with them to create even greater value? What can we do for our members who are critical of our efforts? How can we turn them into promoters?  

We need to be more member-centric. Ultimately the member-centric association uses deep insights to understand where their members are going and the role the association can play in helping them overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. We have created a simple two-step process that can help you achieve these insights

The Process – Phase One

In phase one, we send out a short, online survey to members. The central questions revolve around the likelihood of recommending the association to a colleague and reasons for their answer.

Based on their answers, members are segmented into promoters, detractors and passives along with their open-ended reasons for their rating.

Phase Two

We will use this segmentation for a second phase that consists of 15 in-depth interviews with members. Five interviews will be conducted amongst each segment – promoters, detractors and passives.

Each interview will be approximately 30 minutes in duration and will consist of a mix of face-to-face and telephone phone conversations

In these interviews we achieve a deep understanding of what makes a member a promoter, detractor or passive. Importantly we also obtain insights into your members - their challenges and aspirations. We learn how the association can do a better job at helping them in their journey.

Results of the in-depth interviews can be used in three ways:

1) The results will be used to examine gaps that may exist between the current member value proposition and the ideal member value proposition.

2) They can be used to brainstorm and develop programs and services to deliver member value. These concepts can be tested in a quantitative member survey.

3) The information gathered can also be used in an ongoing member survey. These questions will reflect your members’ view of the world and not, as is often the case, the association’s point of view.

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