Engage Members: The 1st Key of Digital Transformation
In our previous blog post, Tips for Launching a Digital Transformation in an Analog World, we referenced that there are Four Keys to Digital Transformation:
- Engage Members
- Empower Employees
- Optimize Operations
- Transform Products and Services
The first key, Engage Members, is something that associations and nonprofits wrestle with on a daily basis. To engage those members the idea is to “strengthen member acquisition and loyalty using a smart platform that enables personalized experiences.” But how?
Virtual Customer Service
Customer Service is not what you think it is. Traditionally, organizations have viewed the delivery of customer service in the context of person-to-person interactions at conferences, on the telephone, via webinars, etc., but in today’s high-tech world, customer service takes on an entirely different meaning. Good customer service is now measured in terms of delivering positive virtual experiences. Some examples include: fast organizational web page loads, automatic membership renewals, or automatically populating all the vital contact information into a form for members so they don’t have to do it themselves.
Error = Bad Customer Service
Imagine walking up to the registration kiosk at an event and being rudely told, “You never registered; go away.” You leave angry and annoyed because you know for a fact you registered. If you were to rate the quality of that customer service interaction, you’d most likely rate it very poorly.
Now image you are a member of an organization, and you are trying to register online for an event. You need to type all your contact information and credentials into the form; you get to the end and click “Submit,” but instead of a confirmation, you see the word ERROR pop up on your screen. You spend the next 15 minutes trying again and the same ERROR pops up. If you were asked to rate the customer service experience of this interaction, you’d most likely rate it as low as the personal interaction with the rude staff member.
While it’s often difficult to predict human behavior, having a strong digital platform significantly minimizes the risk of delivering poor customer service. It anticipates how your members want to be treated before they realize it themselves. A strong digital platform can even reduce person-to-person interactions by facilitating better self-service mechanisms which saves members time and energy.
The Importance of a Strong Digital Platform
An organization’s digital platform (web portal, AMS, marketing automation, etc.) is the first line of engagement with its members. Seminar registration, educational articles, advocacy updates, etc. are all typically available online. The expectation of members is for their virtual interactions to simply work. Members expect ease. We’ve all been lured by the Amazon and Netflix experience – and members have now come to expect all their digital interactions to be just as intuitive as those.
Making the Connection
There are many real-world examples that demonstrate how digital transformation is changing our landscape. Not too long ago, it was common for organizations to physically mail out paper surveys or send around a petition for signature to advocate for an organization’s cause. Today’s organizations are connecting products and services in the real world to experiences in virtual environments (i.e. paper and pencil petitions have been replaced by online petitions, webinars now dominate over in-person seminars in educational programming attendance, etc.) Progressive organizations are utilizing digital platforms to gather and analyze data to gain insight into their members’ needs and wants. They have digital systems in place that are dynamic and able to make informed predictions on industry trends. They understand their members’ need to be social and use tools like Social Engagement to monitor social media outlets and respond immediately to both criticism and praise. They are not comfortable maintaining the status quo.
Data, Data, Data!
By utilizing digital tools to compile detailed analytics, organizations can use that information to deepen their connections, significance, and responsiveness by viewing their members’ experience through their eyes. Digitally engaged organizations have the ability to act on data that shows value is not being added to the member experience while having the agility to make rapid changes in their delivery of products and services. They can utilize integrative apps that support their members’ changing dynamics.
Digitally transformed organizations maintain their relevancy to their members, and the community in which they serve, through artificial intelligence, machine learning and analytics. Automatically suggesting a book or a seminar to a member after s/he registers for a particular webinar goes a long way in maintaining individual engagement and helps an organization plan strategically to stay “relevant” to all their members.
To successfully deliver quality Member Engagement organizations need digital platforms that are nimble, adaptable to members’ changing needs, able to meet the member on the device they live on and create an experience that is quick, easy and seamless.
Digital Transformation is not a destination but a journey. Click below to learn how Altai can help your organization digitally transform and successfully enable personalized experiences for your members.