Boosting Member Loyalty in an Age of Distrust

Community Brands CEO JP Guilbault discusses five key tactics to overcome mistrust and establish life-long loyalty among members.

We are all too familiar with reports that tell us consumer trust is declining and consumers are spending more time checking their data privacy settings more than ever before. Why does this happen? JP Guilbault, President and CEO of Community Brands, believes the root of this skepticism is “the presence of the Wild West Days of the Internet where opinions are masqueraded as facts and the truth can be whatever a publisher wants it to be. The ability for anyone to post anything anywhere has created a prevailing atmosphere of uncertainty, cynicism, and frustration. It has turned us all into a nation of independent fact-checkers.” As a result of this uncertainty, McCarthy Group study reveals that a shocking 84% of millennials don’t like advertising and do not trust its messaging.

So, what can we do as organizations to restore trust with our members? Guilbault says, “with the right approach, your association can not only overcome mistrust but can also establish and foster life-long loyalty among members.”

Be personal, be authentic

“In both marketing and daily interactions with consumers or members, it is important to ensure a personal experience,” says Guilbault. “Avoid using scripts and ready-made responses and encourage your team to engage from the heart. Small changes towards more personalized experiences can help to work against consumer distrust. Instead of being viewed as a faceless organization by consumers – associations have the chance to present themselves as warm and more human.

Be active and visible on social media

“Social media is simple but powerful tool to network and reach out to members in an engaging and impactful way. With consistent, positive interactions, organizations can utilize social media to gain an informed and trusting following,” JP says.

“Social media allows for several options when interacting with your followers—syndicating onsite content, posting images or videos, sharing relevant news, or direct communication such as commenting and sharing. By using social media effectively, you should find yourself surrounded by a network of people who are interested in your content and actively sharing that content with their networks.”

Take security seriously

“A major tip in protecting member data and earning their trust is to truly keep only the data you need. The less data you collect, the less data you need to manage and protect which reduces risk,” advises Guilbault. “Gain feedback from your community and steer clear of any practices that make your members feel uneasy.”

Guilbault goes on to clarify, “as a start, avoid using a clunky, hard to use check out processes and spamming your members with advertising as it may be used by members as an indicator of an unsafe platform and could result in a loss of revenue.”

With access to so many secured payment options, Guilbault directs us to, “make sure to use trusted payment platforms and display those badges proudly. When you’ve taken the steps to protect yours and your members’ data, it is important you let them know! Use blog posts, targeted emails, and social media to communicate your security efforts. Research shows that trust seals are the single greatest on-site factor that increases consumer trust.”

When mistakes happen, don’t give members the silent treatment

In regards to security missteps, Guilbault explains the importance of accountability and says, “if a problem occurs, acknowledge it, apologize for any inconvenience it caused, detail how it will be resolved and move on without hesitation.” Guilbault cites the advice of Adrienne Chance, Senior Director of Communications at Topgolf, who told Forbes, “The more time that passes before a company takes these actions, the less meaningful they become. It’s critical for a brand to own its error before the audience owns the conversation.”

Engage in trust-building conversations

According to research conducted by Salesforce, 64% of today’s members expect real-time interactions with associations while online. “By providing a platform—whether it’s social media channels, a well-monitored email address, or a carefully crafted onboarding series—consumers are able to honestly voice their ideas, concerns, and complaints,” says Guilbault. “Reply to them quickly and take all the feedback to make improvements. Show your audience that the solutions to their needs and wants already to exist within the brand’s community, and they will continue to endure there for the foreseeable future. When consumers feel heard, you gain their trust and they’ll support your journey to success.”

About Community Brands & JP Guilbault

JP Guilbault currently serves as CEO and President of Community Brands, the leading provider of business management, engagement, commerce & payment solutions to member-based organizations. With 3,000 employees serving over 130,000 clients in 34 countries, CB empowers people and organizations to grow stronger, succeed faster, and achieve their dreams- because powerful work needs powerful tech. 

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