Sunday, January 18, 2009

How to turn off happy members

Yesterday I received a letter indicating in ALL CAPS: "This is your FOURTH RENEWAL NOTICE"; and enclosure starts with - "This is the 4th notice we have sent to you about your [magazine] subscription. We need to hear from you!" .... and then continues.

Almost made it seem like I wasn't just slightly past due for renewal but way, way, way past due. But I'm never past due. Says in small print my expiration date is JULY 09.

There's a chance I was a charter subscriber of the magazine (they had me at hello) and have been a loyal and happy subscriber. But now I'm mad. They're telling me that they've already told me over and over about my renewal and they NEED to hear from me. What they're forgetting is that I don't need to hear from them and have the option to just drop them.

Do we do this with our dues billing process? Have we figured out how to turn off happy members just with our repeated reminders about dues deadlines that may be months away?

1. Member convenience - We intentionally back up dues billing four months earlier than the due date because we hear that end of year is a terrible time financially.

2. Repeated reminders - Due to routine heavy volume of "I never got it" we're more likely to send reminder notice a few times prior to the dues deadline so we can legitimately say that there were multiple attempts to give them the bill. But what about the part of the membership who actually prefers to pay close to the deadline - are they thankful for all the reminders or does mentioning dues four times turn off those who otherwise may not be annoyed?

3. The tone - Creating urgency or implying the members are screwing up by not wanting convenience of an early payment may be a risky approach. Does the tone of our dues billing communications turn off happy members?

They don't want the dues bill anyway, so is it possible to make it even worse by how we say it?

3 comments:

David M. Patt, CAE said...

I receive magazine renewal notices many months before they're due - sometimes more than a year before the end of a multi-year subscription.

That's overkill.

What's most important is giving members or subscribers value during their payment period and creating a renewal device that exploits the feeling of value.

Timing and frequency of renewals will become less important and less necessary.

Cynthia D'Amour said...

Another consideration... If I get a bunch of reminders about dues, it makes me think the association is desperate. That not a lot of folks are renewing. And if they don't renew, why should I? I want to be where the cool kids are!

Sonia Coleman said...

I appreciate 2 print notices and 2 email notices, but after that it's annoying. I never pay early though... what would be my motivation? I think it is key that associations provide help remembering, but that they don't sound pushy or threatening.

By the way, the form letter that I hate is from my health insurance and it comes with every benefit explanation. It starts with, "To get the most from your policy, you need to understand..."

Don't tell me what I need to understand!