What is membership and what does it mean to the organisations that have members? Here we look at the case for using systems based on Customer Relationship Management (CRM), to help organisations manage their members.
It’s not a far-cry to think of members as a special kind of customer: a customer that has special privileges; one that has committed themselves or is bound in some way to the organisation; a customer who shares common traits or needs with fellow “customers”.
CRM systems have been around for many years and have evolved from simple contact lookups with names and addresses to sophisticated databases that integrate with emails, document management systems, websites, social media and operational systems. They can track a raft of data that map a history and timeline of interactions between an organisation and the customer.
In short, a well-designed CRM system – one that is tailored to the needs of members i.e. a special class of customer – can prove to be a lynch-pin for both the organisation and the members. Success of the membership is defined in part by the access and relevance of information that binds everyone together. CRM systems are wonderfully placed to capture, manage and harness this information for the benefit of all.
Since membership organisations exist to serve the interests of their members, the data associated with a particular member becomes vitally important. Improving the service offered to members can come from gaining better knowledge. Knowledge such as:
a) who a member is,
b) what interests them
c) what is likely to interest them
d) what information do they need
e) what interactions have we had previously
Microsoft CRM is an ideal platform for membership organisation for a number of reasons. It is easy to use, it naturally integrates with other Microsoft applications, there is wide acceptance due to large customer base and has research and development backing of Microsoft.
Yet Microsoft CRM in its raw form is built to serve Customers. Members are a special case. This is why Professional Advantage has extended Microsoft CRM to build UpBeat; a members-specific layer that sits over the top of MS-CRM.
To learn more about UpBeat or Microsoft CRM go to www.pa.com.au