Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Does Cyber Monday Mean for Associations & Nonprofits?

Here are the stats for Cyber Monday (11/28/11):
  • 38% of all Thanksgiving weekend purchases were made online
  • 43% more online retail traffic than in 2010
  • 33% increase in online sales (over 2010)
  • 7.4% increase in sales via mobile devices

“We spent the last year really focusing (to make sure) our mobile experience was full and complete,” Sears CMO told USA Today. They focused on speed, features and functionality.

So what Steve ... we have members and donors, not consumers.
Well, it again demonstrates the rapid move to mobile platforms (see Go Mobile Association. Go Mobile! http://bit.ly/sq0iI2).

More importantly, what our members experience as consumers influences their expectations about their online experiences with our organizations.

Those members and donors are influenced by their experiences outside your organization. And, they are experiencing (for the most part) highly interactive websites, mobile platforms, CRM systems that remember who they are as soon as they start to type their name and systems that suggest “areas of interest” based on your last contact with them (think Amazon).

And, they expect similar experiences when they come to their association or nonprofit sites.

Here are three ways to check the “consumer experience factor” of your organization:

1) Take a fresh (and honest) look at your website.
  • Is it inviting? 
  • Is it easy to use?
  • Is it engaging or just an electronic brochure?
  • What would members, prospective members, donors, potential donors, news media and others experience?
      Please see yesterday’s post about the impact of mediocre websites (http://bit.ly/tmV4gQ).

2) Call your office to see the experience you get when you ask a question.
  • A friend of mine worked at a large university and every month he called the main switchboard and asked a question to see what his “customers” were hearing. This included checking on the music playing while he was on hold.
  • If you are at a small organization, have a friend or a colleague from another association call and then give you feedback and feelings.
3) Consider a “mystery shopper.”
  • We all suffer from the “curse of knowledge” ... we know too much about our organization and have forgotten what it feels like as a “newbie” to experience our organization.
  • So, you may want to take a page from retailers and hoteliers who use mystery shoppers to check up on the customer experience. For an association, this might be someone asking to join your organization or to register for your annual conference. Have them “test” your systems both with a phone call as well as online. For a foundation or 501(c)(3) organization, have the mystery shopper be a new donor and/or major donor. Again, have them attempt to make a gift both via phone call and online. Have your mystery shoppers write a report on their experiences. How easy is it? How did the process make them feel about your organization? What “bugged” them about the process? How would they suggest you improve?
Yes, Cyber Monday is about consumers buying products. But, it’s also about consumers experiencing online relationships that impact how they view that relationship with their membership organizations or charity groups.

What is your “customer experience quotient?”

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