When we are feeling terrible, and the doctor says the test results will be back in 24 hours, we expect the test results to be back in 24 hours, not three days, not seven days. If the doctor is busy, we still want the test results back in 24 hours. If there’s been a computer glitch, we still expect those test results on time. Getting the results later than we expected denigrates the whole experience.
Expectations profoundly influence our experiences.
Associations make promises all the time and keep them. Conferences are jam-packed with content. Journals release on schedule. Members receive the weekly newsletter every Friday at noon. Over time members understand they can count on the association for these kinds of things and their trust grows.
Sometimes we make promises we cannot keep. Read through the promotional materials and we may find comments like “meet your peers at our premier networking event”. “Fabulous mentor relationships”. And, “life-long friendships”. Not experiencing these open-ended, general promises may make a member feel a little letdown.
Nothing sets an expectation like a date. Promises are made when a staff member says, “I’ll get back to you tomorrow” or a voicemail promises a return call in 24-hours or an out of office message that says you’ll be back in the office Monday. Members remember when we are due to contact them and get frustrated if we do not.
There are also implicit expectations we need to deliver on. When a member calls, they expect a return email. When a member emails, they expect an email back. When they arrive at registration, they expect a welcome or at least a smile. When members put in a little effort, they automatically expect a response and may become disgruntled if they do not get one.
Think about all the promises your association can make… and keep.
- Members want to be seen
- Associations just need to exceed expectations
- Responsive associations boost early member engagement