If you have to choose…

Choose customer functionality over staff functionality.

Because our websites (customer-facing) and databases (staff-facing) are now intertwined and completely integrated, we may come upon situations where database design requires us to choose between making use of the system easier for the customer or making it easier for the staff. In 99% of the cases, you should choose customer over staff. Here’s why:

  1. Our first job is to help our customers buy, whether it’s membership, events, products, or services. Anything that makes it more difficult to buy will dampen our sales. That’s bad.
  2. We can’t “train” our customers on how to use our systems if they are poorly designed. If we have to train them, we’ll lose sales (see #1 above). But we can train staff on how to work around less-than-perfect design on the staff side.
  3. You have far more customers to please than staff!

Hopefully you can choose BOTH, but the next time you have to make a choice between a better customer experience and a better staff experience, choose the customer!

About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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