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Last week, we released the article Superior Customer Service: Your Loyalty Program’s Secret Weapon. In it, we discussed the importance of customer service to any business, but especially to those with loyalty programs, which rely on a positive customer experience to succeed. In part 2 of this series below, we give some tips on how to enhance your own customer service efforts.

I worked in a call center. Briefly.

Fresh out of college, I wanted to be making money as I searched for a “real job” so I took a position that was notoriously easy to get, at a place that would hire just about anyone.

Admittedly, this company put a lot of effort into training according to client expectations. However, it’s very hard to make a group of teens, job seekers, recently laid-off, etc., really care.

Confession time. Whenever I have to call customer service, I always cringe, waiting for that dreaded phone tree before I ever get to talk to a person.

I think my record is 18 selections before I got frustrated and pounded 0, which wasn’t listed but thankfully sent me to the operator anyway.

Seriously, I prefer to use a company’s website to find hours of operation, pay bills, and all the other automated tasks you usually find in a phone tree.

So unless one of your options is “If you would like to hear a duck quack” then I’m probably not going to find my answer automated in your system. No, if I’m resorting to dialing a number, I want to talk to a person, dang it.

Rant over.

When membership organizations make bad decisions, we can learn a lot from their mistakes. Here is a tongue-in-cheek look at ten easy ways to smother member loyalty and engagement.  About a 7 minute read.

My role as a marketing consultant has allowed me to work with all types and sizes of membership organizations. From large organizations with a million or so members, to small non-profit and trade groups with just a few thousand members. Most organizations seem to get it. They’ve figured out how to adapt to meet the unique needs of their members, and they can seamlessly integrate our discount platform into their existing suite of member benefits and privileges.

A few others -- dare I say -- are unprepared for success.

They have so many fundamental problems with how they run their organization that adding a powerful engagement tool like ours will actually make matters worse.

After more than a decade in working with various groups, I’ve noticed some important patterns among the few groups that struggle the most. The ones that have a knack for suffocating member engagement.

I think there’s great value in learning from the mistakes of others, so here’s my list of the ten easiest ways an organization can smother their member loyalty and engagement: 

I joined a professional association once. Over the course of several years and thousands of dollars, this is what I had received for joining: a useful PowerPoint on writing press releases.

That’s all. Obviously, that relationship didn’t last too long. The press releases I’ve constructed since are better, I suppose. Worth my investment into the organization? Eh, nope.

Ask someone why they join a professional association and they’ll offer up networking, educational opportunities, certifications, or representation. All important and vital functions of any association.

Then, ask someone why they won’t renew a membership, or why they’re not interested in joining at all, and they’ll tell you it’s because they didn’t see the personal value in it. There’s just not enough in it for them to justify the expenditure.

I have a confession to make.

I’m 31 years old (almost 32 actually) and I LOVE Disney more now than I did as a kid.

In fact, here’s a little list of all my Disney favorites:

Favorite Disney Character - Snow White

Favorite Disney Movie - The Parent Trap (Hayley Mills version)

Favorite Disney Channel Show – Lizzie McGuire

Favorite Disney Ride - Space Mountain (with Splash Mountain as a close 2nd)

Favorite Disney Park Food - Chocolate-covered Mickey Mouse ice cream bar

Favorite Disney Memory - On a family trip to Disney World, we did a character breakfast and my little brother had to be taken out of the room because he was terrified of Jafar.

Favorite Disney Apparel - An oversized Mickey sweatshirt I’ve had since elementary school that is still my favorite thing to wear to bed.

I’m sure there are a lot of Disney fanatics out there who can relate and have lists of their own Disney obsessions.

Well, for all you Disney lovers out there, we at Access have some BIG news around upcoming summer attractions and exclusive magical savings to the happiest place on earth.

You’ve probably heard it called customer success – after all, that’s what it’s known by in most of the business world.

Here at Access, we call it client success and we have an entire department dedicated to it.

Or you could call it member success. While not a buzz word, this would be just as relevant a term.

What am I talking about?

All these describe the idea that companies should strategize their business plan with the end user in mind. And little by little, it has taken over the business world mindset and become the preferred way to gain an audience’s loyalty – and all the benefits that come with it.