In this era of convenience, distilling how to serve our members can be a challenge. However, all the big companies we often talk about, like Netflix, Amazon and Spotify, seem to have already figured it out.
At its inception, Netflix tuned into consumer demands and offered its first service of convenience by eliminating the few mile drive to a local Blockbuster to rent a movie. They iterated, fixed the problem and sent it to our mailbox. Then they reiterated and launched the digital platform we are all addicted to now. They’ve changed our habits by making the barrier to entry as minimal as possible.
Amazon worked similarly. At first, they made it possible to get any book you could imagine from anywhere in the world delivered to your doorstep in an affordable and convenient way. Then they expanded exponentially where we can now get just about anything from Amazon, all with the convenience of two-day shipping, the privilege and ease for which we are more than willing to pay.
These two companies have changed the game. Amazon has over 100 million members around the world, and Netflix has 98.75 million. These millions of customers are incredibly loyal. While customers and members aren’t the same, because the former means a more transactional relationship, they are both audiences. In this age, customers expect and demand so much because the multitude of options seem endless. If one meal-delivery package isn’t working, customers just try another – with little to no remorse. And yet Amazon and Netflix have managed to inspire loyalty in millions of people and deliver positive experiences that keep them around.
So what can associations learn from them?
- Deliver positive experiences. In Shep Hyken’s book, “The Convenience Revolution: How to Deliver a Customer Service Experience that Disrupts the Competition and Creates Fierce Loyalty,” he says customers today have higher expectations than ever before. They no longer compare any of our organizations with any specific competitor. Rather, they are comparing us to the best service they have ever had – from anyone. So, if we can focus on the “next time” every time, we create a lifetime of loyalty. Striving to simply satisfy customers is no longer enough. We must go above and beyond.
- Deliver value. This might mean adopting a certain subscription model. For example, instead of giving members the sole option of paying a-la-carte for one conference, event or product, perhaps a package fee that allows them entry and access to a certain number of conferences or products might feel more valuable. And bonus: They may want to engage more too.
- Keep barriers low. Whatever you’re trying to get your members to do, make it convenient and easy. From automatic renewals to completing a registration forms, keep barriers to entry as minimal as possible so there isn’t reason not to follow through.
Like Netflix and Amazon’s approach to offer convenient, personalized and affordable access, associations can learn to better serve our members to inspire engagement and loyalty.