3 Ways to Better Understand Existing Member Experience

Categories: Association Management

Every touch point and interaction your members have with your association creates impressions that influence their overall experience. While this may be common knowledge to your team, the question that they might not know the answer to is whether those impressions help to create a good, bad or indifferent experience for your members.

Here are three ways you and your association staff can use to better understand your existing member experience:

1. Create an advisory council.It is almost certain that you have a board of directors who have been chartered to provide oversight and advise your association. While many of your board members are also members of your organization, it is important to consider that they might have a uniquely positive member experience simply because they participate on your board, and your staff is trained to give them special treatment.

In order to understand what matters most to your members, form an advisory council within your membership and don’t invite board members (or their organizations) to participate. Make this group your independent, objective source for advice and insight on your member experience.

map-the-journey2. Map the journey.Does your staff understand the journey your members experience through all of their touch points with your association? If the answer to this question is no, take the time to engage your team and have them outline and draw the path that your members experience. The activity of mapping builds knowledge and consensus across your organization in the identification of problem areas, low points and high points along the journey. Seek to amplify the high points and take the necessary action to correct problem areas and low points.

3. Understand why you were told “no.”No one likes to hear bad news, but the best way to understand how you could attract more members and improve member retention is to ask those that chose not to join your organization.

While it may feel like it goes against the fiber of your being to invite criticism, it can be invaluable in identifying the blind spots you have in your member experience. Make this a monthly exercise and make it a shared responsibility within your organization so that everyone has the opportunity to hear the feedback directly.


Understanding, managing, and enhancing your member’s experience is critical to the success of your organization. Implementing the three simple steps outlined above will give your association the foundation it needs to understand existing member experience, improve member retention, drive new member sales and ultimately, ensure that you’re on a sustainable path to consistent and reliable growth.

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