Remember the classic 1995 film, Clueless? It revolutionized pop culture. From its style to its slang, middle and high schoolers of its time were arrested by its captivating tentacles. The movie's fashion and speech were seen and heard, vibrating from coast to coast.
Example. Who can forget the unforgettable party in the Valley? The new Bronson Alcott High School student, Tai, unfamiliar with the Beverly Hills lifestyle, is introduced to her first California fiesta. She sees one of her classmates, Amber, and whispers enviously to Cher how pretty Amber is. In utter disagreement, Cher violently objects.
Cher: "She's a full-on Monet" (referring to Amber).
Tai: "What's a Monet?"
Cher: "It's like a painting, see? From far away, it's OK, but up close, it's a big ol' mess."
Basically, Cher schooled us by helping us all understand that a Monet is something or someone that appears to be attractive at a distance but is quite the opposite when we get an intimate view. Unfortunately, that is the identical form of deception many of our associations offer our members. Our organizations are Monets. We work tirelessly to acquire them, but once they join our communities, their up-close experience is dismal compared to the wooing.
Members matter isn't just a motto filled with false promises of a bright future. It should be the very fabric and heartbeat of every association in existence. Shame on us for prioritizing and placing a higher stake on looking good rather than being good. If our members truly matter, the silver platter and gold-star treatment should not end at conversion. Instead, it should only be the beginning. Our associations should roll out the red carpet for our members every single day. As their proximity draws nearer to our organizations, the people we serve should feel even more valued, understood, and appreciated.
We had the CEO of a former client ask us this critical question in the form of a test, "Which do you think is harder, acquisition or retention?" The answer was relatively simple for us. Retention, of course. He agreed in delight. This executive expressed that once a member is in, they are invited to discover and uncover the association's inner workings. Every organization has its flaws as imperfect humans run them. From the outside, they are not so easy to spot. However, membership in our associations is similar to a dermatologist check-up. The doctor holds a magnifying glass up to our faces, and every pore, blemish, wrinkle, and scar is up for grabs. There's just no hiding.
How do we ensure the encounters with some of our less appealing traits don't frighten our members away? We develop a membership journey tailored to meeting our members' needs and exceeding their expectations. We create an experience for them surpassing the one provided during the acquisition phase. We can't win them and forget them. We win them and show up for them every day. The only way to get this right is to have a members matter mindset.
Don't forget your members on the way to making your association great. Make them great, and your organization will have to follow suit. Be the association where your members are zealous to join, and once they do, they find you are just as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside!
Dig into our blog, The Customer Lifecycle: Think Circular and Forget the Straight Line, to gain more insight into building a robust retention experience for your association's members. Or tag us for a free consultation to discuss how we can assist.