Alex Beall is a freelance writer based in California.
A new report from the ASAE Foundation found that keeping members happy means meeting new tech expectations.
More than half of association members are highly satisfied with their organization’s technology, according to the ASAE Foundation’s Tech Success for Associations report. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t areas ripe for improvement.
Dave Coriale, president of DelCor Technology Solutions, which partnered with ASAE and Rockbridge Associates on the study, says associations should be working to rectify technological issues, even the smallest or those invisible to members. Ignoring weaknesses “does damage the brand at some level,” he says.
The fact is that users are no longer satisfied with Google-like results. —Dave Coriale, DelCor Technology Solutions
A key pain point to address: search. The study found that only 70 percent of members are satisfied with their association’s website search functionality, compared with 78 percent satisfaction with data security and 75 percent with commerce and relationship management tools. Coriale attributes the lower satisfaction rate to higher expectations of a clean search experience.
The fact is that users are no longer satisfied with Google-like results. “The search results are cluttered up with a lot of noise, and as soon as you get search results that don’t have anything to do with what you think you’re looking for, you’re done,” he says.
To improve the experience, associations should introduce better content creation and management processes that allow for more specific and sortable results.
“You really need to provide a great user experience in search, where users can then further parse those results based on other variables that are really clear to them, really accessible to them, to keep refining their search until they find what they’re looking for,” Coriale says.
Association collaboration and networking tools earned the lowest satisfaction rate of 68 percent. And while current members seem to be largely tolerating the tools available now, dissatisfaction may grow as more millennials— and even younger people just beginning to enter the workforce—become associations’ core members.
In fact, the study concluded that millennial members already are more likely than baby boomers to think association technology works poorly.
“Thus, while associations can feel assured they are meeting most member needs and expectations now, as their member demographics shift, that member satisfaction rating may also shift without some adjustments in how they employ technology,” according to the report.
As this shift occurs, Coriale says, associations will need to focus especially on the mobile experiences they provide, ensuring that the online user experience can be replicated on a variety of devices.
“An association still has to always focus on, ‘Are we surfacing our value proposition the best way possible through the best technology possible or with the most applicable technology for it?’” Coriale says.
[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "Satisfaction Security."]