Just like children, we all need boundaries

Recently I was discussing with a client their rules for how they manage event registration. As my client described the different rules for how customers can register for their events, I complimented her on how clear the rules were. She responded: “We like to make the boundaries very clear. Just like children need boundaries, our members and customers need boundaries, too.”

And while this may sound a bit paternalistic, I think it actually makes a lot of sense. Really clear business rules help our members and customers make better decisions for engaging with us. Clear business rules also make the process easier for both customer and staff.

For example, some of my clients use online “wizards” (a series of questions) to help guide the member or customer to the correct membership type.  Rather than presenting ALL the membership types, with a few questions, the customer is pointed to the correct member type (e.g., based on level of profession, type of degree, etc.). These “boundaries” guide the customer to the right membership type, thus making it easier for them to join, and easier for staff to process (since there will be fewer errors).

So think about the “boundaries” you’re creating for your members and customers. Are they helping guide them to make the right decisions?

About Wes Trochlil

For a quarter century, 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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