Customer Experience (CX) has become a vital business strategy for associations
Customer-centric culture, experience design, and innovation are all part of customer experience strategies. According to a research by ASAE, one of the five tech issues CEOs should focus on is mobility and collaboration with their members. Another study by Ernst & Young states that by the year 2025, millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce—and that means they’ll likely make up a large portion of association membership too. They will be looking for mobile solutions without any decrease in the quality of their user experience.
What strategy should associations put in place to remain relevant and successful in this new era? How to drive growth and at the same time deploy relevant experience to engage with future generations of members and customers?
We asked association leaders to share with us the latest tech solutions they have adopted to improve member/customer experience, how they are using data to deliver more personalized experiences, how they measure success, and what tech investments they are anticipating in the next five years and how these will impact their growth strategy.
Power Up with Customized Experiences
In a GrowthZone survey of more than 500 association professionals, more than half of respondents—57 percent—said that member engagement or recruiting and retaining members ranked as their top challenge in 2019. To meet this challenge, the Parenteral Drug Association (PDA) has implemented several changes in its membership structure, including a refreshed website with a mobile-enabled and more dynamic look and feel. It is also enhancing its social media presence through various platforms, exploring other regional tools like WeChat for the Chinese market, and planning more translation to reach its global community.
Another leading organization, the HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®), has put the customer experience as its number one priority. It relies on multiple technology support systems and is committed to delivering the highest quality of services, ensuring the certification process is a smooth and efficient experience. “HRCI utilizes Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technologies that unify our back-office operations; a data warehouse and data visualization tool to assist with the understanding of customer trends; and front-end experiences to facilitate customer interactions,” said Dave Meginley, Chief Business Development Officer.
Barbara Connell, COO at the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) shared that her organization has adopted its next generation digital learning environment – GI Leap – which pulls together several themes. The new learning center is a dynamic, interconnected, ever-evolving community of learners, instructors, tools, and content that characterizes higher education practice and supports the organization in its growing effort towards a competency-based education model. “Embracing social media and aligning with influencers who support our efforts is another area where we are delving into increased engagement. Within healthcare, it can be tricky to use social media effectively; we use caution and monitor our activity carefully,” Connell noted.
Data to Drive Emotional Engagement
Data is key. Leveraging unique insights with the right technology will ultimately boost the competitive advantage to act quickly, work efficiently and provide more customized experiences. “HRCI uses data to tailor digital communications to our customers, create technology roadmaps and solve customer problems with 1-to-1 communication. The information we gather allows the organization to obtain qualitative and quantitative feedback and identify and address individual experiences and interactions with HRCI,” Meginley added.
Likewise, PDA is integrating its enterprise system (AMS) to help the organization customize its offerings to members in regions with specific interests. This year, ASGE will also be focusing on capturing data related to personas and segments and tailor its messaging and offerings accordingly.
“You can’t manage what you can’t measure”
With this statement, Peter Drucker, a renowned management theorist, encapsulated the importance of measuring success the right way because it informs how and where to spend time and effort.
If all three organizations interviewed agree that they measure success through three main ways including: customer satisfaction, ROI (revenue) and user experience metrics/engagement scoring, ASGE also takes into consideration member evaluations and increased activity on social media as other methods of effective engagement. At HRCI the resources, tools and processes implemented are always cross-checked for efficiency and end-user satisfaction.
Looking to the Future
In its journey to create delightful customer experience while improving its core operations, HRCI anticipates a deeper use of machine learning. “We know our business and the services that our customers expect from us in the future and we will continue to evolve with technology to build the infrastructure and processes that will be essential for future experiences,” noted Meginley.
As with many associations, expenses related to technology often don’t equate to member value, until it becomes apparent the organization is behind the times. ASGE is working to get ahead of that and will invest in updating its numerous software systems, AMS, websites, mobile offerings and learning management system. “In our global environment, members expect 24/7/365 access to resources. They want to feel like participants – technology tools are critical to helping us meet these needs,” added Richard Johnson, CEO, PDA.