7,300 Ways to Say "Hello"

Calling all your members can be a great way to connect and hear their concerns.

What's the great idea? Calling each member of your organization to show your appreciation.

Who's doing it? Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO)

What's involved? EO found that 25 percent of nonrenewal members made their decision to leave between August and October. After reading The Cult of the Customer by member Shep Hyken, Vice President of Membership Development Miranda Barrett decided EO staff should call each of the 7,300 international members of the organization. Members were divided among 60 staff members, including the executive director and leadership. Participants were given four weeks to complete the calls to members to say thanks and let them know they are appreciated.

"They say that for every complaint you get, there are five or six others who are remaining silent," says Barrett. "So we really wanted to find those people who were frustrated about something and at least show them that we did care about addressing it, and we're not just here to ask them for money when it's time to renew, and we want to make sure they had a good experience. "

One challenge was calling across time zones, but Barrett says EO was able to make it a team exercise, staying at the office late and throwing a pizza party. Staffers used a map showing what areas were appropriate to call at what time. "We made our way across New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, and moved as the sun came up," Barrett says. The language barrier also proved to be a challenge and meant some calls were hard to complete, but a message and a follow-up email were still left for the member, and some staff learned how to say hello in a new language.

What are people saying? The first round of EO thank-you calls will not be the last, says Barrett. She plans to make this type of interaction more frequent and says members weren't the only ones who benefitted from the calls.

"For a lot of [our staff], their job description doesn't normally involve a lot of member interaction day in and day out like the folks in membership … so we wanted to get everyone a little out of their comfort zone but create some one-on-one relationships with members to drive home the basic fact that our salaries are paid by our members' dues—and we kind of live and die by how happy the members are with their experience with EO!"