I smile every time I look at this beautiful tile given to me by the Boulder Chamber in 2002 as I was honored as its Volunteer of the Year. When was the last time you were recognized as a member or rewarded for being a loyal customer and how did it make you feel? If you’re like me, it reaffirmed your desire to serve and to engage with the organization!
Recognizing and rewarding members not only makes them feel special, it develops a loyalty bond that lasts longer than the experiential moment and afterglow. This coincides with Maya Angelou’s famous quote: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
This is an important thing to remember when you’re struggling to retain members. You must realize that members who love you talk about the VOI and not the ROI of membership. Value is about customer experiences and emotional connections with you and less about transactions.
As I studied the neuroscience of member loyalty (yes, there is such a thing!), I found it interesting that recognition was a key component.
In the book, The Loyalty Switch, James Kane has carefully laid out the key “ingredients” that triggers neuro responses in the brain that helps us develop loyalty with individuals and organizations. As it turns out, there are three areas of the brain that stimulate us to resonate with others and create a Sense of Trust, a Sense of Belonging, and a Sense of Purpose—all of which develops loyalty.
You can see from this “periodic table” for Loyalty Elements that Recognition and Identity are key components to creating a Sense of Belonging with an organization.
So if recognition is an important component to develop loyalty (which equals retention), then why do it only for just a few members? Seems to me that we should find more ways to recognize more members. Do you agree with my thinking? If so, please continue reading!
Create Opportunities to Recognize and Reward Your Members
I’m sure if you sat down with your team and brainstormed together, you could make a list of different ways to recognize members for their accomplishments or volunteer contributions and for their loyalty. I’ll help you get started by sharing recognition and reward ideas from my Recruit, Retain and Reward Your Members Pocket Guide (the smallest and most powerful book about retaining members). You’re welcome!
Cathi Hight helps organizations manage constant change, develop customer-centricity and “work smarter, not harder”. She is President of Hight Performance Group and the developer of The Member Retention Kit, A New Approach to Tiered Membership, and Work Smarter, Not Harder. Learn more at www.hightperformance.com.