An Executive Director's point of view
May 23, 2013: Get extra credit cards
That way, when you leave an organization, you can simply cancel the credit card and not worry about being held responsible for subsequent charges.
May 22, 2013: The price is not the price
But they still aren't used to other businesses engaging in that practice.
A technology company recently quoted a different price for the same product two days in a row. It claimed the price hadn't changed, only the discounts. Those, it admitted, changed every day.
So, what's the real price?
May 15, 2013: Don't cheat when negotiating
If an individual or organization agrees to a deal under those circumstances, they may not deliver whatever they were supposed to deliver.
And unless you are willing to spend the time and money to force them to deliver, they never will.
So, make deals that work for both parties.
May 10, 2013: Paying for feedback
Well, I always respond to surveys from ASAE, Association Forum of Chicagoland, and other organizations that I care about. And I don't need an incentive to do that.
In fact, I usually respond to corporate surveys, too, as long as they don't appear designed simply to confirm what the company has already decided to do.
What's in it for me? Giving them my opinion.
May 08, 2013: Hiding the fee increase
So, maybe they'll save money by offering fewer meals at conferences, but charge the same price as before. Or they'll opt for lower cost food and fewer courses for plated meals (and charge the same price).
Publications will have fewer pages, some will be delivered less frequently, and many will be e-mailed instead of printed and mailed. Membership cards, which usually aren't necessary anyway, will be eliminated.
Paper used for member communications will be thinner. Bags will be absent from expos, allegedly for environmental reasons, but often to save money.
Associations will boast about their cost-cutting strategies and assume that most members will react favorably to the changes.
But don't simply reduce quantity to keep prices from rising. That's no different than raising prices.
Sara Lee recently reduced its deli meat packages from 10 ounces to 8 ounces, but kept the price the same. That's a 20% price increase. Sun-Maid reduced the number of raisin boxes in its packages from 14 to 12, but kept the price the same. That's a 14% price increase.
Sometimes, it's better to raise the price than to reduce the quantity. And it's certainly more honest.
April 12, 2013: When caller ID is wrong
People may call you from a land line but leave a cell number for you to call back because they expect to be out of the office when you call.
So, listen to the message and return the call to the number you were told to call.
March 24, 2013: The "hook"
A company invited people to attend a complimentary webinar but did not publish the date or time. That information was not even offered after clicking the "register here" button. Users first had to enter their email addresses.
It seemed like the company was simply trying to build its mailing list
A web site listed LCD projectors for sale, including narrative descriptions and technical specifications. But it did not list prices.
Other sites not only listed prices but allowed users to sort options by price.
The first company may have thought it would convince buyers to select a certain item, feeling they would then pay whatever it cost to purchase that item.
Using the "hook" is dishonest. Always give people the information they need before deciding whether or not to respond to your offer. Don't try to trick them into buying whatever it is you are selling.
March 06, 2013: A better fix
January 11, 2013: Dealing with complaints
December 17, 2012: Condescending customer service
It may be a task that you think is simple or obvious. It may be a task you think they should have been able to figure out on their own.
Keep those opinions to yourself.
Don't make people feel stupid, inattentive, or inadequate when they ask for help. Don't judge them when providing assistance. If someone says they feel stupid, assure them they are not.
The whole point of customer service is to help people with problems they are having, whether or not you think they should be having those problems.
You should want people to like the association more, not less, after their contact with customer service.