I wrote about the concept of a “client ombudsman” a couple of years ago (you can read it in its entirety here). What I said at the time was this:
“Every AMS vendor should have a client ombudsman. The ombudsman’s job is to reach out to every single client on a regular basis, to get a sense of what the client is doing, how happy or unhappy they are with the AMS product, and what kinds of issues the vendor should be focusing on.”
I was pleased to learn the other day that in the past year, Aptify has created such a position. Aptify calls it the “Director of Customer Care” and, according to Aptify’s CEO, Amith Nagarajan, this position reports directly to him, and is not party of any other Aptify department. Amith, with no prompting from me, tells me he views the position as an ombudsman for Aptify clients.
I also spoke with David Frick, who holds the position at Aptify, and he said he views his job as a “neutral arbiter” between the client and Aptify, to help resolve issues on projects and to help clients get more from their AMS implementation.
My idea of the “ombudsman” dates back to around 2000, when I first started consulting. Back in that 2007 post I wrote:
“The reality is that the vast majority of associations that I talk to feel like they’re out there on their own when it comes to their AMS. They feel like the only time their vendor listens is whent they’re spending money.”
I think that still holds true for far too many associations. Associations have to work at the relationship, but vendors do, too.
So kudos to Aptify for working at making this happen.
Full disclosure: EDM is an independent third-party consulting firm. This means we have no financial relationship with any of the vendors mentioned in this blog. We provide unbiased opinions on what we see.
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Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan
“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”
Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance