ASAE’s 199 Ideas: Member Service and Engagement encourages us to go above and beyond the standard when servicing our members. This is a great philosophy to adopt because everything we do, even the little things, can make a huge difference in a members’ perception of the organization. Here are two short stories that illustrate the power the little things carry.
Special Request – Our AMS system had the ability of member-initiated invoice generation. This highly effective tool placed on-demand invoices at the fingertips of our patrons and removed invoice generation from being a staff procedure. However, we had one member call the office looking to obtain an invoice to provide to his company so they would pay for his membership. We explained the steps to obtain an invoice from his account, hoping to educate him on how he can obtain an invoice on demand. He replied that the automatic invoice wasn’t good enough for him because he needed something to come from an official email from the organization. Without hesitation, we generated an invoice for his membership and emailed it to him. The member-initiated invoice generation worked for 99.9% of our members and freed our staff up to work on other tasks. However, this particular member had a special need. We could have forced the member to conform to our process, but chose to go above and beyond for this member. Now he calls every year to request an invoice from us and we happily oblige him. One year following our conference, our Executive Director pulled the membership team into his office to praise us for going above and beyond for said member. The member made an effort at conference to speak to our ED and thank us for fulfilling his special request. He told the ED that had we not done so, he would no longer be a member.
The Printer – An exhibitor had a printer stolen from our exhibition floor. They sent us a letter informing us of the incident and stated that the printer cost $350.00. After investigating the incident, it was determined that the organization was not at fault, but we took responsibility since it happened on our exhibit floor. We sent the exhibitor a response letter expressing our deepest regret for the stolen item and that we took responsibility for the incident. Enclosed in the letter was a check for $350.00. The exhibitor sent a follow-up message which stated that they were monitoring how we would respond to the incident and felt that we showed great integrity taking responsibility for the printer. Enclosed in the exhibitor’s letter was a check for $50,000.00 to exhibit with us the following year.
These two short stories illustrate the benefits of going above and beyond when called for. Both stories come from separate departments in the same organization. Rather it be an extra procedure or a small amount of money (comparatively speaking), the little things can cause huge ripple effects for an organization. So please adopt this philosophy as the standard operating procedure for your entire organization.