Understand Your Members on a Deeper Level Through Journey Mapping

By visualizing the member journey, associations can better identify member needs and relieve pain points, improving the overall experience.

By Greg Amdur, Senior Vice President, Customer Success & Strategic Programs

As expectations continue to evolve, providing an outstanding member experience has become more important than ever. According to PwC, 59 percent of people will walk away from an organization or product after several bad experiences; 17 percent of people will do the same after one bad experience.

To ensure that doesn’t happen to your association, consider journey mapping, an end-to-end visualization of the member experience across all touchpoints in which the member interacts with your association. These touchpoints can include advertisements, onboarding, events, website visits, social media channels, email, live chat, newsletters, and surveys, among pathways and experiences.

As you map out each detail of the member journey, you’ll likely see gaps between what you presume your association is offering and what members actually experience.

“An effective journey map improves the overall member experience by identifying bottlenecks and silos that act as barriers to an exceptional member journey,” said Marc Hehl, COO of Impexium. “The process allows associations to better understand their members’ behaviors, thoughts, and needs continually—and make improvements accordingly.”

The word “continual” is critical here: Member journey mapping is an ongoing process. As your association evolves, so do member experiences. Make sure to update your member journey map in alignment with new products, services, and events. It’s also important to involve every department or team, as their input allows you to form a more comprehensive picture of the member journey.

The Benefits

Every association can enjoy the numerous benefits of member journey mapping. According to Microsoft, “A consistent drive to improve the customer experience can boost sales and increase customer loyalty—and customer journey mapping can be instrumental in your efforts.”

Journey maps help associations:

  • Uncover pain points and roadblocks. One of the biggest benefits of journey mapping is the opportunity to identify member pain points, problems with products and services, and faulty internal processes. This “feedback” allows associations to pinpoint areas for improvement, providing a clear competitive advantage.
  • Ensure all departments have a consistent picture of member needs. A clear view of all the interactions members have with your association removes departmental silos, allowing the association as a whole to work toward common goals.
  • Improve marketing techniques. Distinct member types and personas will likely emerge as you map out the various touchpoints in the member journey. For example, a digital native might engage with your association via social and mobile touchpoints more frequently than another demographic. Identifying different behaviors and interests enables you to create personalized marketing content for these various groups.
  • Build loyalty and retain members. Members who feel heard are more likely to stand by your association—and may even help recruit new members through word-of-mouth marketing. The more loyal the member, the more likely it is that they’ll contribute to non-dues revenue by attending events, pursuing educational offerings, or purchasing merchandise.

How to Get Started

There’s no single way to create a customer journey map, but a few best practices can successfully guide you along the way.

When starting a new mapping project, you should first define your goals. You’re likely looking to cultivate a more member-centric experience, but you should also clarify your goals in terms of business objectives. Are you looking to boost non-dues revenue, improve member retention, or accomplish another goal? Your end goals will inform the scope of the project.

Next, consider your data sources. Surveys, social media monitoring tools, web and mobile analytics, and support tickets are all relevant sources of information. Use this data to plot member touchpoints, discover possible member personas and types, and define pain points. Finally, create an action plan using insights from the journey map. Take a balanced approach when working with members to prioritize initiatives and facilitate agreement across your association internally.

To make journey mapping even more accessible, consider deploying member journey mapping technology that easily integrates with your AMS (Association Management Solution) or leveraging an AMS platform with built-in tools and insights.

For example, platforms that leverage Microsoft Power Automate or predictive analytics with Microsoft Power BI take the guesswork out of visualizing member journeys in real-time and proactively identify opportunities for improvement at scale.

“Turning prospects into lifelong members and driving value throughout the member lifecycle is critical to every association,” Hehl said. “At Impexium, we track our client journey by continually soliciting feedback. This allows us to deliver the functionality and services associations need to drive meaningful engagement throughout the member journey, which accelerates business success.”

To learn more about how Impexium’s Association Management Solution (AMS) empowers associations to innovate easily, do more with data, and expand possibilities, request a demo.

(Handout photo)