Unengaged Members don’t Help keep or Bring in more Engaged Members

copy-of-susan_headshot4 With gratitude to Bruce Temkin for The 6 Laws of Customer Experience: The Fundamental Truths that Define How Organizations Treat Customers , this fourth of six essays now looks at the importance of keeping members engaged in their Toastmasters experience.

If you want to improve member experience, then it might seem obvious that you should focus on both current and prospective members.   You cannot sustain great members experience unless everyone else is bought in to what you’re doing and are aligned with the effort. If members have low morale, then getting them to “wow” potential members will be nearly impossible.

As Walt Disney said, “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”

Don’t under-estimate the value of training both in your club and beyond.  You can’t just change some club conventions and processes and hope that members will be treated better. Just about any change to the experience a prospective member has requires some members to change what they do and how they do it.

Make it easy to do the right thing. If it’s hard for members to do something, then they are less likely to do it — and more likely to get frustrated.  Encourage the use of enabling technologies, such as posting partially-completed membership applications on your website.  Include your club name and number, your District number and city your club is in on the membership application form.  It’s a rare guest who knows your District number.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. If you want to have members feel like they’re a part of something, then you need to tell them what’s going on. So develop a robust communications plan that not only tells members what your club is doing, but also explains why you’re doing it. (This is a vital part of making the Distinguished Club Program work.)  Look for opportunities to catch people doing the right thing.

Find ways to celebrate. If members do things that helpother members and bring in more members, then celebrate those actions. Thank that special helpful member in front of the club—if the person is comfortable with such attention. With some people, a simple one-on-one “Thanks!” is all that is needed or wanted.

Measure member engagement. Clubs need to put the same rigor in monitoring member relationships that they do in monitoring members performance.  Progress in the Distinguished Club Plan is an excellent tool not only to measure overall club performance; it is also a rough guide to member satisfaction.