Member Relationship

Seven Strategies for Building and Managing Member Relationships and Loyalty

Proven principles to create advocates for your Organisation by Kevin Cahalane (Membership Growth)Image


  • MRM begins internally


A strong and loyal staff promotes a strong and loyal (member focussed) organisation, which, in turn, engenders member loyalty.  Loyalty measures are not about members accessing the ‘members only’ link or renewing online.  What builds member loyalty is the ability to discuss their problems, their needs and their expectations with a person, in an organisation, who cares about them and, perhaps, can gauge their needs and preferences quickly and effortlessly.  Build employee loyalty and responsiveness – this will build member loyalty.


  • Your Member Relationship processes involve loyalty stages


It takes time for members to become ‘loyal’ and many organisations have different loyalty stages.  Some practice the six stage principle:  suspect, prospect, first time member, renewing member, valued member (eg 5, 10+ years membership) and relationship advocate (they practice the WOMM principle – ‘word of mouth marketing’).  You will be constantly working to move members to the next stage.


  • Excellent Member Service is a right


Members are more informed today and they know what they want.  And they want it now.  There are three things that may differentiate your people from your opposition:


  • Knowledge.  The company;  the products/services;  the member’s needs;
  • Skills.  Technical;  member services;  sales;  support;
  • Attitude.  As Muhammad Ali once said, when talking about being a champion …‘You need the skill and the will, but the will is always stronger than the skill.’

Everyone in your organisation is providing service to someone else (either internally or to those who pay their wages – the member).

  • Adopt a zero tolerance to complaints

Establish firm guidelines regarding complaints – most of all make it easy for a member to complain.  Treat complaints seriously; have a prompt response mechanism and, most importantly, ensure consistency in complaint management from your people.

On a periodic basis, conduct a member care survey and be prepared to act, in a positive and decisive way, on the feedback you gain…particularly where members let you know they are unhappy about some aspect of the organisation.

  • Give to Get:  VALUE

Knowing what your members want and need is important; wrapping value around their membership is equally important.  Definitions of value tend to change, but there are two key components.

  1. The first, knowing what your individual members definition of value is (particularly your premium members).  Act on that knowledge.
  2. Second, through research and feedback, determine what constitutes value across your member segments.  Is it the time you save them?  Do you improve something important for them?  Do you reduce hassles and tensions for them? Do you offer them supportive networks?

If you offer value to your members, you will get value in return such as increased member loyalty.

  • Re-capture your lost premium value members

No MRM program is 100% guaranteed to retain all members.  Adopt a ‘win back’ program for those who have left you, particularly those of premium value.  At the very least you will determine why they left.  This will enable you to focus on improving your services, products, complaint management or your team.

  • Use your multi-channel access to serve members

Don’t use your contact centre, website, email response or social media as a cost cutting device.

People want to access what is important to them at the time.  They will email a straight-forward request to you.  However, if they have a question or problem requiring human interaction/intervention, they want to talk to one of your employees – NOW.  Not when it suits you (voice recordings telling people how important their call is, over and over, are a poor joke), but when it suits them.

Be mindful of how you approach time. Watching the clock is not the
same as watching the sun rise.”

Sophia Bedford-Pierce *********************************************************************************************

  1. 1.              Are you a sales leader?

Today’s senior people, in any membership based organisation, need to understand the sales process.  It isn’t always about the best service or the best offer – sometimes it is about ‘closing the sale’ particularly in B2B associations.

What are the attributes of a top class, professional sales leader?

I have worked with many great sales leaders (more than managers – leadership is a higher level) over the past 25 years, in my business.  Below are some of the main attributes I have discovered in these true professionals.

  • They are not, generally, perfectionists – they have flaws and admit to it.  Arrogance is not one of their traits.
  • They have a working rhythm and energy – they commence early, they work late, they maintain a standard of peak performance.
  • They do not waste a huge amount of time on pointless meetings.  They plan meetings and keep the session to a minimum – ensuring better productivity from everyone.
  • They are great communicators – ensuring clarity in all they say; acute listening skills; ability to ask key questions.  They give and seek feedback.
  • They manage their time and their resources;  they are not ‘email/social media slaves’;  they are not afraid to say ‘no’;  they are driven by systems e.g. an up-to-date contact management system and sales systems
  • They keep their word; they do not over commit … however, they constantly over deliver.
  • They are coaches and mentors to their people – they support excellence; they challenge mediocrity; they maintain high yet fair standards.
  • They are not afraid to delegate; they seek to build their team’s careers; they do not procrastinate.
  • They recognise good performance and praise their teams/individuals and they believe strongly in the power of positive reinforcement.


There is not a man of us who does not at times need a helping hand to be stretched out to him, and then shame upon him who will not stretch out the helping hand to his brother.

Theodore Roosevelt, US President


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