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Connected vs Disconnected Systems


Whether it’s through people, a cause, or goal, your organization is driven by a sense of connection. The activity your members take should connect to the data your association captures, and the actions of your staff should connect with the needs of your members. The source of this connection is the data you gather and how you use it to enhance your members’ experience.

Check out the following examples, which take the same situation and considers them with and without a connected experience. 

Disconnected System

The phone rings in your membership office. There is no caller ID. A staff member answers the phone with their usual friendly tone and the caller turns out to be one of your members who needs help. Whether it be for a renewal, membership upgrade, or signing up for an event, your member needs support. How does your staff typically react? Do they have to ask the caller for their name and rush to find them on the system? 

Perhaps this member needs to change their contact email. Your events team has asked them to confirm their catering choices and send allergy information in an email. The member told the events team that they are using an old email, but the events team told them they don’t have access to update this information. The member doesn’t remember the person in the events team they spoke to. 

The member’s new email will need to be relayed to various teams in your organization. The Customer Service assistant has written the member’s new email on a post-it note to share with the other teams and reassures the member it will be sorted out. The member is concerned because they want to attend the event and don’t want to lose their place. Meanwhile, staff members are growing increasingly frustrated that data is kept in various places, turning updates into a laborious process.  

Connected System

The phone rings in your membership office. A pop-up appears on your staff member’s screen, informing them that Jo Smith is calling from ABC Corporation. Your member is greeted on a first-name basis. Your staff person can see that they recently attended your annual conference and asks them how they found it. 

Your member has signed up for your latest event using their modern and sleek member portal. They have purchased their ticket, chosen their food, and planned their journey using the built-in map. They needed to change their email address, and they complete this by updating their member profile. As an extra precautious person who has had issues updating information in the past, the member called the organization to check that their email has been updated. With the member’s information all on one screen with easy links to follow, the staff person reassures the member all the information in the member portals are connected and data is updated in real-time. The staff member notices the member is due to renew soon, and asks the member if they would like to complete it on the call. Once the renewal process is complete, an email is automatically sent to the member with their renewal information. 

Key Takeaways 

Members expect value from an association and quality customer service is a key expectation. The simple act of greeting your members on a first-name basis reinforces a positive relationship, yet many legacy systems are unable to support this. Having advanced technology in place is crucial to providing the highest level of customer service. 

A 360-degree view of customer data allows staff to view information in one location without having to access multiple spreadsheets or databases. This reduces the time it takes to answer customer service calls, and gives back more time to focus on enhancing the member experience. Meanwhile, an innovative self-service portal empowers your members to manage various elements of their membership themselves.

Learn more about the future of association software.

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