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Often it’s about service, not product

Association management software (AMS) has existed for over 20 years, so I think we can fairly say the market has matured. That’s good news for AMS consumers, because these days you can get more functionality for a lower price than ever before.

And what this means for associations selecting new AMS software is that an apples-to-apples comparison of product functionality alone is no longer sufficient. You have to go beyond product functionality and look at the company behind the product, and the service they can provide.

I’m finding this is becoming increasingly important to my clients. Many associations I wind up working with have an off-the-shelf product in place, but are struggling with using the product effectively. And in almost every case, it’s not a matter of the technology (the product), but rather the company behind the product (service).

I recently worked with an association that had invested in excess of $500,000 over the past five years in an AMS product that is technically a very sound product. But the association ultimately dumped that product for a new product (and company), to a great extent due to the poor service they received from their vendor. The reality is that product functionality alone will not guarantee success; only a strong relationship with a vendor that provide exceptional service will do that.

So when you’re considering new software (be it AMS software or something else), be sure to look beyond the bells and whistles of the functionality, and consider the company behind it. Service will often be far more important than product.

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Testimonials

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”

Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
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

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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