I was trading emails with my colleague (and fellow AMS consultant) George Breeden recently, and he raised an issue that I’ve long felt was missing from essentially every AMS vendor out there. George put it this way:

The vendors should be taking proactive steps to maintain and build the relationships, not just in a reactive manner when they think the client is leaving – it’s too late then. I would suggest that part of the package would be a yearly gap assessment and recalibration (training, BI, usage, etc) to help make sure the organization was getting the most of out the AMS system. If they were smart, they wouldn’t charge for it either.

I think this is a brilliant idea, and I would add the following, which I’ve suggested to some of the AMS vendors. 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.

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’m always harping about how associations need to view this as a long-term relationship (see here, for example). Perhaps I need to start harping on the vendors, too.

For associations: What do you think? Is your AMS vendor paying attention?

For vendors: What do you think? Why can’t you implement these ideas?