Marketing

Improve the Member Experience: Three Steps

Amid tough economic times, it pays to pay attention to those who pay your bills.

March 14, 2013
KEYWORDS customers , sage , service
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Last year we witnessed a whirlwind of influences on the business landscape—some of them good and some of them not so good.

The fiscal cliff, presidential election, an anemic economic recovery, and the lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy are just a few things that come to mind.

Despite the ever-changing business landscape, one central tenet always rings true: Keep your members happy.

So, what can we do in 2013 to continue this mantra, regardless of what unfolds in the world at large? I suggest these three lessons:

1. Know your members and adapt to them

Consumers have grown accustomed to purchasing products and services in their personal lives on a monthly subscription basis (Netflix is a good example of this) with the benefits of a short-term commitment and without the need to spend a lot of money up front.

Put yourself in members’ shoes. Perhaps you can offer more flexible payment or billing options that are more convenient to your members.

2. Give your customers more

The first thing many consumers do before visiting a business is to check online reviews and then look for discounts. How can you capitalize on this trend?

You could offer coupons on your website or social media platforms. Consider developing a loyalty program that gives your most active members discounts and other perks.

Also, think about other resources you could provide your members, such as free financial information or classes in areas of interest to your members.

3. Show members that their feedback matters

Constantly review your processes to determine the best ways to deliver a memorable member experience, and act on member feedback.

Take “listening” a step further by backing it up with some action. Your members will remember and value your business more than the competition.

JOE LANGNER is executive vice president of mid-market solutions for Sage North America.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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