How to Get Member Feedback From Your Online Community

[fa icon="calendar"] Mar 29, 2017 9:00:00 AM

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How to Get Member Feedback From Your Online Community

As hard as your association tries to stay in tune with how your members feel about various touch points, it’s extremely difficult to get an accurate read. For instance, do they think you’re sending too many emails? Is the font color difficult to read? These are the types of things that your members may be thinking, but very rarely does this information make it back into your hands.

Enter online community.

For all of its celebrated benefits, this is an often overlooked one: the ability to capture member feedback with ease. This will come indirectly, as you read through interactions where opinions are voiced, but it’ll also come directly. Let’s talk about the two forms, and how you should handle them:

Indirect

As you’re analyzing the conversations that occur within the community, you’ll start to notice comments that give insights into what members are really thinking. Look out for things like, “I’m not sure if I’m going to the conference this year. The price went up significantly and my company doesn’t want to pay for it”, or “Does anyone know how I can renew my membership? I can’t find it on the website.”

You should absolutely document these comments, and share them with the necessary departments.

Now, make sure you put in some due diligence to differentiate between isolated incidents and overarching issues. For example, in the case of the membership renewal, find out all the processes that your association have put in place to renew. You may learn that three emails are sent out to every member to both remind them and provide instructions on how to do so. That could mean that the member’s email is not updated in the system, or communications are going straight to the spam folder.

You can reach out to him/her through the community and find out. If it seems to be a bigger problem, that is when it should be reported back internally.

Direct

Another way to learn about how your members are feeling is to ask them! You can simply start a conversation thread with your question. People are really happy to give detailed feedback to things like, “We’re planning our next networking event! What did you think about the last one? Is there anything new you’d like to see incorporated this time around?”

Now here’s the tricky part. Once feedback has been delivered, there is often an expectation that the changes will be made. For that reason, I wouldn’t recommend asking questions publically about issues that you have 0 control over.

But for the member feedback you do receive, take the time to respond to each person (immediately, and then after it has been considered) to let them know the status. Sometimes the feedback from your online community will not be incorporated, but there will be a reason for it. Make sure you let them know why.

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Whether you receive feedback directly or indirectly, make sure that you are keeping the lines of communication open. If people see that the feedback they provide is being actively considered by the association, then it will feel extremely validating and serve to positively reinforce their loyalty. It will also improve the member experience for everyone.

In my recent webinar, I discuss collecting member feedback, along with other crucial proactive and reactive community management tactics:
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Topics: member feedback, online community

Arianna Rehak

Written by Arianna Rehak