3 minute read

Online Self-Service for Membership Organisations & Trade Associations

Written by Jim Perren

Where everyone knows your name

Most UK member organisations and trade assocaitions have a website to manage their interactions with their members and provide customer (or member) services. To manage the members’ personal (and sometimes professional) data they have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system too. Typically, the CRM system is based on either a purpose-built system for membership or around a powerful CRM system such as Microsoft Dynamics which has been adapted for membership, such as Tribe CRM. 

The issue that a lot of membership organisations and trade associations have is that of keeping all of their customer data right up to date. And it is no wonder that they do: Recent research by Marketing Sherpas shows that B2B data decays at a rate of 2.1% per month, which is 22.5% per year. 

If you have a membership in the thousands each person will need to update their personal contact details from time to time. For example, if they move their job or they move house, since the member organisation needs to send them letters and perhaps publications, not having completely up to date information can mean delivering a poor membership service. 

Similarly, a proportion of those members will forget their passwords and crucially will need an easy way to renew their membership online. Asking your operations staff to handle all of these transactions and updates can be very time-consuming and is open to human error. Because of this, more and more membership organisations and trade associations are offering an online self-service portal to their members. 

Self-Service Portal

The advantages are clear; as soon as a member needs to change their contact details they can simply go online, from anywhere in the world, and make the changes. No other person is involved in the update - reducing the likelihood of errors. Also, the CRM system is updated directly from the website, so all of the member records are immediately up to date.

Membership record showing perosnal details for easy self-service updates

Clearly, a major time saving for both the member and the organisation is paying for membership online. Again the whole transaction should be directly sent into the CRM system so that the systems know that the member is paid up. Sometimes the membership renewal can also be used to upsell other publications too:

Membership subscription renewal with optional publication subscriptions

Once you begin thinking about the kinds of membership information that it would be good to capture through an online portal, there are lots of ideas. And most of them would benefit both the member and the organisation. How about capturing what they are really (professionally or otherwise) interested in:

Membership profile showing interests for easy self service updating

If our members are able to tell us this themselves, then it is much easier to send them relevant offers of publications and events that they might be interested in. And that makes their membership of the organisation more valuable (and pleasing) to them.

In the words of the Cheers theme tune “Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name”.
But if they also know you’re into composite materials, you get an even warmer glow.

To find our more about self-service portal options and what they could mean for you and your business - follow our link below and send us your questions.

 I want to learn more