Here are the top-five things that visitor-serving organizations do that annoy high level members the most… And the interesting finding that ties them together.
We cultural organizations love our members – and especially our premium members paying an annual fee of over $250 each year. They play an important role in our solvency, and some of them even go on to become our biggest, most valuable donors. This is especially true when they are mission-based (as opposed to transaction-based) members. As such, there’s a lot of pressure not to disappoint these folks.
So what does disappoint premium members paying an annual fee of over $250 each year? IMPACTS surveyed premium members (defined as persons who have purchased an annual membership to a cultural organization costing $250 or more within the past 12 months) to better understand the nature and hierarchy of member dissatisfiers. That’s the focus of this week’s Know Your Own Bone Fast Facts video.
The data comes from the ongoing National Awareness, Attitudes & Usage Study of 224 US Visitor-Serving Organizations. For this component of the analysis, 1,096 premium members to organizations responded to open-ended questions to identify the most dissatisfying aspect of their member experience. A consequent lexical analysis process organized these responses by general consideration, and these same considerations were presented to the studied members who were then asked to rank from 1-10 the considerations in terms of relative dissatisfaction (with 1 being the most dissatisfying aspect and 10 being the least dissatisfying aspect). The Mean Value is the average ranking that the member respondents assigned to each consideration. The data suggests an interesting take-away. Let’s take a look.
As you can see, solicitation telephone calls are the top-rated dissatisfier among premium members, followed by delayed access and not being treated as special on site. Showing IDs at the entrance also annoys these top-giving members. And also the volume of mail and renewal notices. Rounding out the top-5 dissatisfiers is family member limits for admission.
Really take a look at these. Some are “necessary evils,” you might say. We need to make solicitation telephone calls and we have to check photo IDs with membership entrance! But do we really need to do these things in the way that we do them? Are there other methods that might be better for our members and (thus) our organizations? For example, data suggest that checking members photo IDs can do more harm than good for organizations and deploying a kind of ID police undermines some of the hard work that organizations do to keep members happy. When we really think about these findings, though, it becomes clearer to see what kind of picture is being painted and why premium members may be annoyed:
It seems that we may not walk the “we value our member” talk – though we may think that we do.
Two things seem to be happening here that tie these five “dissatisfiers” together…
There is an on-site and off-site disconnect.
It seems that we know our members names very well when we call them on their personal cell phones and clutter their mailboxes with solicitations and renewal notices, but we suddenly don’t remember them or honor their contributions when they arrive at the door in person. That’s a disconnect. That’s a big miss. And, wouldn’t you be annoyed by that dichotomy?
And there is a communications opportunity.
There may be an opportunity here to change up our communications to focus on what our members want, rather than what we want – and to be sensitive about how we communicate the support that we hope to continue to receive from these members. Of course, we want to ask for their continued support and we indeed want these folks to increase their giving and make their way up the support channel. That said, there are ways to frame our membership and donor benefits so that they match what actually matter to our supporters. When our communications solely make an ask, we miss the opportunity to tell our stories about how we carry out our missions and make a difference. We lose the opportunity to cultivate the best kinds of supporters. Moreover, poor relationship management and impact communication strategies are a leading reason why donors stop giving.
While, indeed, there are a lot of great things that members do for us, it’s important for us to remember what we do for them. Yes, exclusive events matter to some members, but that doesn’t mean that respect and appreciation fly out the window. Remember: we need these members more than they need us so there’s incentive to listen to these folks and treat them well. After all, happy members are more likely to be renewed members!