Think about some of your favorite businesses for a second. Why do you like them so much? Do they offer you something you can’t get anywhere else? Do they make you feel good, welcomed, and satisfied?
Chances are, the businesses you like best are the ones that offer exemplary customer service.
Well, associations work in much the same way. Some of the best associations out there are the ones that practice good customer service.
In fact, here are three basic customer service skills every association should be using:
1. Be personal
Members don’t want to deal with a formal organization – they want to deal with a person. That said, put forth a solid effort to be personal with your members. That means using first names, recognizing anniversaries, acknowledging hard work, etc.
Now I know, as an association professional, you’re slammed. You don’t have time to send thousands of personalized emails. But the good news is, you don’t have to! If you’re utilizing an association management system, this type of email personalization is extremely easy to do. An AMS can integrate with your organization’s database, allowing you to pull any of the member data you’re tracking into a clean and personalized email – no extra work required!
2. Exercise good listening
As an association professional, you need to listen closely to your members. Listen to the words they speak, the body language they display, and the overall tone of their communications. Ask them what they think about your association and how they feel about upcoming programs or events. Get them involved in your organization and really respond to what it is they’re saying. This type of listening will take your association far.
3. Go the extra mile
This one can be hard sometimes, particularly if you’re a small-staff association, but it really is one of the best ways to make your organization stand out.
Wondering what we mean by “go the extra mile?” Well, think of it like this. If one of your members calls in with a complaint, don’t just resolve it and call it a day. Call them back in a few weeks to make sure things are still ok. Or, if one of your volunteers goes above and beyond, don’t just thank them in person. Write them a nice, handwritten thank you letter or acknowledge them at your next big event. It’s these types of actions that people will remember, and it’s these types of actions that will get people to stay.
At the end of the day, practicing good customer service is really all about retaining your existing members. Want more tips for improving your organization’s retention rates? Check out our free Member Retention Guide below!