During a crisis, you have a unique window of time to position yourself as “being there” for your members in arguably their greatest time of need. You should immediately be assessing what you could – and should – be doing to help and how easy it is to do business with your association during that time.
Even if your actions and operational changes are crisis-specific, your members will undoubtedly remember the experiences (positive or negative) they are having with you as circumstances return to normal.
Based on our research and our clients’ experiences during crises, here are our top recommendations for working with your members:
- Don’t be afraid to have conversations with your members at any point during a crisis. In fact, it is best to have ongoing Our research has highlighted that associations need to respond to urgent needs, but also understand that the types and magnitudes of those needs may change over the course of the crisis.
- Approach your members with a tone of understanding and empathy. Don’t create an unnecessary sense of urgency in gathering feedback but be prepared to respond quickly if necessary. Remember, the conversation needs to be about them first, not you.
- If assessing membership value or engagement, be sure to understand whether changes in member perceptions are within your control or out of your control, as well as whether your response to the pandemic has created a halo (positive) or horns (negative) effect for your members. We have found this is as simple as asking one question at the start of your survey or conversation.
Most importantly, the theme is to make sure you are actively communicating with your members. Touch base with them, share meaningful information, and ask them questions. As their professional “home,” they rely on you for industry updates as well as a connection to their profession so be sure to incorporate that into your crisis strategy.
If you need help with a data-driven strategy for communicating with your members in times of crisis or not, contact Loyalty Research Center’s Client Services team.