Handling Member Queries
The way you handle member queries can often depend on the size of your staff – a small team may need to let queries go to voicemail or an inbox, whereas a larger team can provide live phone support.
Each scenario has its downfalls. In the first, while your staff will have the freedom to prioritize queries, you may find your inbox overflowing – and members becoming frustrated as they wait for a response. In the latter case, your members will be happy to hear a live voice at the end of the phone but your staff will face regular interruptions.
The only solution is to go to the root of the problem – why is your office receiving so many queries in the first place?
Identifying Patterns in Member Queries
When our client, the Certified Dental Assistants of BC, came on board as one of our association management customers, our office faced a huge increase in phone call volume. With almost 1,000 members, there were questions about events, membership, continuing education and more coming in throughout the day.
The trick was to identify patterns in the queries we were receiving. For example, we recognized right away that many people were confusing CDABC with the regulatory body for the dental assistant profession and were incorrectly contacting the office in that capacity. We started to think about how we could answer members’ questions before they even reached our office.
Your association’s website is the best place to get across information. However, the simple fact is that if your information is not clear and accessible within seconds, many will prefer to hit ‘Contact us’ and get their answer without putting in further effort.
The CDABC’s original website was poorly designed and not mobile friendly. It was a chore for members to read. If searching your website becomes a chore for your members, they will give up and pass that chore on to you in the form of an email or phone call.
Making Information Easy to Find on Your Association Website
When redeveloping the CDABC website, we knew a simple FAQ webpage was not going to cut it – nobody would want to scroll down a lengthy page to find a simple answer.
Working with our partner Zendesk, we created a searchable and responsive FAQ zone for the CDABC website. The page is organized into clear categories, and users can type in a keyword or an entire question to search articles for an answer.
Best of all, the FAQ tool hooks up directly with the ‘Contact Us’ form on the website. The form obligates users to type in a subject line for their email – when they do, a pop-up appears with suggested articles that can answer their question before they’ve even finished typing the email.
The FAQ zone also features a community forum, where users can start their own discussions and post questions to fellow members. It becomes an interactive experience for knowledge gathering and sharing, and your members feel better off for it.
After launching the new FAQ and community forum, our office has experienced a dramatic decrease in member calls and emails. “We were overwhelmed by calls from CDABC members when they joined us as a client, and it was affecting our ability to focus on bigger projects for the board,” says Membership Manager Dan Chong, “But after we introduced the new website and FAQ, there was a notable drop-off in calls coming in. We were no longer overwhelmed.”
An interactive, responsive FAQ could be the ideal solution for enhancing your association’s efficiency. Contact us to find out how we can help!