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Member Satisfaction Survey Do’s and Don’ts

Engagement Ashleigh Lemelin

Are your members happy with their membership or are they left wishing they had something more? 

There are many benefits to joining an association and members know that. With numerous resources out there for professionals to utilize and count on, your association needs to stand out. You can’t rely solely on retention numbers to know if your members are happy. What if you are the only association that caters to their highly concentrated field? You may have high retention but poor member satisfaction which could impact your relationship in the long run. This could lead to a decrease in new members and eventually, decreased retention of current members.

It’s important to ask your members how they feel about their membership and your association. They are your best source for information. No one knows how your members feel about your services better than they do. The best way to ask them is with a membership satisfaction survey. If you already send one out – Great job! If not, you need to implement one as soon as possible. 

Whether you send out membership satisfaction surveys or not, there is always room for improvement. Make sure you are not only asking the right questions but are keeping up on best practices for membership surveys. 

Try creating or updating your survey with these do’s and don’ts in mind. Keep in mind that you do not want to do a complete overhaul of your survey so that you can monitor year over year satisfaction and trends.

Member Satisfaction Survey Do’s and Don’ts

Do make it simple

If the entire survey is asking for short answer responses, you aren’t likely to get as high of a completion rate or you’ll have shorter/less thoughtful answers to each question. By keeping it simple you will get an accurate sample size for your survey. This will allow you to get an accurate analysis of the general sentiments towards your association.

Do estimate the time correctly

If you say it will be a short 5 minute survey, it should not take the member significantly longer than that. They set aside 5 minutes to take your survey but may not have any more time beyond what was set aside. If they enter the survey and see a lot of questions that will take more than 5 minutes, they will likely drop out. 

Do use different question types

By utilizing different question types you are allowing members to give you a more in depth analysis of your association. They may be able to give you answers on a short response that you would not have thought to put on a multiple choice question. You get a better sense of what your members really want from their membership by letting them express it in different ways. 

Do allow skips

Sometimes a member doesn’t have a strong feeling towards something. It’s possible that a member has never utilized a specific feature that you are asking about. You should allow these questions to be skipped with an “N/A” option of some sort.

Don’t ask leading questions

How you ask a question plays a vital role in the answer that you will receive. The question should be neutral and unbiased to ensure the answer is the same. A leading question could be something as harmless as “how great is our career center?” By asking this question, you are influencing the member slightly toward believing your career center is great, whether they think so or not. 

Don’t survey too frequently

Time is valuable to everyone. Asking to take up too much of a member’s time will not result in a desirable outcome. Members use your services to save time, money, and further their personal goals. They want to help, but don’t want to spend a lot of time answering survey questions.

Don’t harass members

Now this may seem like an obvious one but you may not realize you are doing it. Follow up emails for a survey are great to give members a reminder in case they genuinely forgot. However, if a member has received 2-3 follow up emails and has not opened them, do not continue to send messages. The effectiveness of such messaging decreases with each sent email. 

Don’t forget this is a brand interaction

This is another touch point of your association with the member. This could help or hurt your standings with members depending on favorable or unfavorable interactions. Keep in mind that everything you do has an impact on how the member will view your association. 

Use the feedback and communicate changes to members

This is the most important takeaway. If you spend the time to create a survey, send it out to members and get responses, then you need to analyze the data. Once the data is analyzed, you can start to paint a picture of the sentiments a member feels toward your association. What are the bottlenecks to your operation, did members offer a solution? What do they want to see more of? What do they already enjoy? All of these are important takeaways for your association. This can help determine what is working, what isn’t working, and even how to improve upon issues. Be sure to inform your members of the feedback you received and what was implemented, dropped or improved upon based on their feedback. Remember, getting member feedback is an invaluable resource to keep members happy and coming back year after year.

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