There was a great article in the Harvard Business Review (or HBR for all of you insiders) this week about “wowing” your customers. It spoke to the value of going over and above expectations. The experiences mentioned cost their respective companies very little money – they weren’t handing out free iPads or anything. What was their secret? The employees of these companies treated customers as they would like to be treated. This sort of activity benefits both the company (as it builds loyalty) and the employees (because they get the opportunity to brighten someone’s day). One of our local grocery stores provides a snack to little ones as mom (or dad) shops. Stroke of genius – when my children were little I frequently shopped there (even though their prices may have been slightly higher) because I felt welcome and they made the task at hand easier for me.
You can bring this kind of “golden rule” thinking to your member-based organization as well through empowering your staff to make decisions and act in the best interest of your members. For instance, if your group is comprised of many young working parents and you want to hold an event or meeting at night – think about the possibility of having activities for children in another room. If many of your members are road-warriors, maybe it’s time to limit your in person meetings or feature a travel-friendly component through a Google+ hangout or tweetchat so that they can participate when on the road. Sometimes coming up with this sort of “making your member’s life easier” type ideas are done on the fly, that’s why it’s of the utmost importance that you empower staff to feel comfortable to make these sorts of decisions.
When a member feels appreciated and treated in a way that no one else takes the time to do, they are more likely to remain loyal and active within your organization. When I was a new mother of twins, I didn’t use industry terms like “value” but I did divide businesses and events into two categories – those that made my life easier and those that did not. Needless to say, when I was selecting which events to attend or which companies to do business with I did not have the time or inclination to patronize those that made things hard for me.
Let your members connect in the way they want to and when they do, make that experience memorable. We frequently get stuck on lingo like “how to bring more value” to members. When we use phrases like that they lose their authenticity and we forget the meaning behind them. For this week’s Friday Fix don’t linger on the word “value” and how your member organization can do it. There are so many ways the mere thought of “value” becomes tiresome. Boil it down to the basics – Consider how you feel when you have a need and someone meets it with a smile. Now that’s invaluable!