Customer Service: It’s Not Just for the Cable Company

Did you know that 81% of customers are willing to return to a company or business after receiving great customer service?

Believe it or not, many associations do not refer to customer service as a part of their operations plan. Whether you call it member service or customer service, it is important for your association to have a plan that specifically outlines the importance and process of providing good service to those that interact with the association.

It happens to everyone; whether it’s a vendor or service provider, when you contact them, you want an answer and often, a solution. Assisting customers who have little time and want answers can be stressful.This is no different for the front line professionals supporting your association’s members.

Your members have a day job, one that may require a lot of interaction or quick information from your association. They are often in a hurry and the last thing they planned for was for something they may view as a quick and simple phone call to drag into something long and cumbersome. As a member of the association’s team, how can you help?

Keep records

Most associations make use of a CRM or something similar to manage their membership. Make the most of it! Ensure that your team is logging each interaction with members. Calls, emails, what they spoke about, whether the issue was resolved-all of it. These things might seem like small details but they can make a big difference. It also shows the member or vendor or whomever is calling, that your team is organized, efficient and is working together to give its membership the best customer service possible.

Use your data

While your team should be knowledgeable about all programs, it can be hard for every person on the team to know every detail about every area of your association. Take advantage of your CRM data and learn more about what the issues are that your team is hearing from members about. Getting a view of the areas that your team is being contacted by members the most about can help prevent problems before they start. For example, if members are calling frequently asking how to print dues receipts, perhaps it’s time to make that self service feature more prominent in the layout of the member profile.

Dealing with difficult situations

You can have the policies in place to return calls in 24 hours or have a proactive social media presence to respond to member queries via Twitter, but have you trained your team on how to help an upset member? Equip your team to handle those stressful situations and they will shine when the time comes, which will likely give you an opportunity to turn a detractor into a promoter.

Providing outstanding customer service should always be top of mind for an association’s staff. The better the member experience, the better feedback your team will receive and the better relationship you will have with your members.