An Executive Director's point of view


April 21, 2014: Start webinars on time

Category: Business practices
Posted by: David M Patt
It has become fashionable to start webinars five minutes later than the advertised time.

Don't do that.

Always start on time. Don't wait for people to gather.

If attendees want all of the information, they should show up on time. And those who do should know the webinar will start on time.

April 14, 2014: Don't make them pay

Category: Business practices
Posted by: David M Patt
People who use conference calls for Board meetings, committee meetings, job interviews, or other association activities should not have to pay to participate.

They should be able to call a toll-free number and the organization should pay the fee.

Even local associations should do that. A person who organizes a conference call from a cell phone, for example, may have relocated from across the country and kept an old number. So a call to a colleague down the street will incur a long distance charge.

Conference calls should be free to all of the individuals on the call.

January 21, 2014: Customer service fail

Category: Business practices
Posted by: David M Patt

January 08, 2014: Weather

Category: Business practices
Posted by: David M Patt
Blizzards and sub-zero temperatures prompted a lot of conversation on ASAE Collaborate about weather emergencies. When formulating a policy for such situations, consider the following:

1. What was routine where you worked in the past, may not be routine where you are working now. Adopt a policy that works for your current location.

2. You may not feel inconvenienced by a bit of snow or cold, but government agencies may not be prepared for it. So, roads, buses, and trains may not be ready for commuters.

3. No, everybody cannot work from home. If schools are closed, employees with school-age children will be parenting, not working - even if they really want to work.

4. Not everybody has computer access at home. Or, they have to share it with other family members (adults included).

5. If weather problems affect power, computer access will be affected, too.

6. Adverse weather may not be experienced in every part of a large metropolitan area. Storms may deluge one area while others enjoy sunshine and clear weather.

So, be flexible. Be lenient. Recognize that most associations do not deliver essential services. Being closed or slowed down for a day or two usually won't matter.

December 19, 2013: What's a guest?

Category: Business practices
Posted by: David M Patt
A museum created a position called "Director of Guest Experiences." Although the title is very Disney-sounding, it was a well-thought out creation meant to ensure that every aspect of museum activity was designed with the "guest" in mind.

Now, I've been to that museum, and I didn't think I was treated like a "guest." I paid an admission fee - a high admission fee - for myself and for each family member, plus extra for a special exhibit, plus more for parking, and also for overpriced lunch fare.

It would have been appropriate to call me a "customer" or a "visitor," but not a "guest."

Don't use oh-so-precious language to make association members and customers feel like they are something special. Treating them like guests (even if you charge them a lot of money) is good. But calling them guests is just going too far.

December 12, 2013: Dishonest data

Category: Business practices
Posted by: David M Patt
Many companies ask customers for feedback following customer service calls.

They aren't gauging your support for the company, though. They are attempting to evaluate the performance of the customer service employee.

You may be extremely unhappy with the company, but you think the employee did a good job. So, you provide the company with data that enables it to tout its highly rated service to customers while ignoring its product deficiencies.

Don't follow that dishonest path in your association.

If you ask for customer or member feedback - and you should - use it to evaluate the association, not the employee. Find out what members and customers think of the association, not the employee, and use that feedback to improve your programs and operations.

Collect data honestly.

December 02, 2013: Where's the money?

Category: Business practices
Posted by: David M Patt
Tell your members the truth about the organization's financial affairs.

And your employees, too.

November 27, 2013: Venues for customer service

Category: Business practices
Posted by: David M Patt
Here's a survey that tells what venues people prefer for receiving customer support.

November 20, 2013: Don't hide the price

Category: Business practices
Posted by: David M Patt
When posting information about association events, ALWAYS post the price. Don't try to lure people into registration by hiding it and saving it to the very end.

And don't force them to establish accounts, complete forms, then navigate to a page where you finally tell them the price.

Be honest. State the price up front!

September 24, 2013: Email response time

Category: Business practices
Posted by: David M Patt
How quickly do you think people should respond to email?

Survey says...
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