Happy audience

How to make an audience feel special

I recently took a bag of clothes and books into a Barnardo’s charity shop, and upon handing them to the volunteer who was manning the desk, she asked me to register my details with them. Along with the opportunity Barnardos logofor them to claim back gift aid, they also said that they would update me on how much income was generated from my donations.   

A few weeks later I received an email, thanking me again for supporting them:

“Thank you so much for choosing to donate to your local Barnardo’s store and for signing up to Gift Aid. I am pleased to tell you that since your last notification we have raised a further £29.85 from selling your goods.”

I thought this was such a nice touch and it stuck me that it is a great way of building customer engagement. I was really encouraged by how much had been raised by my donation, plus the fact that it was personalised to me – rather than a more generalised update – made me feel special. I was motivated to choose Barnardo’s again as a place to donate to in the future. 

Since then, I have continued to donate to Barnardo’s and they have continued to update me. This extra step to personalise my experience of donating to them has stood them apart from other charity shops, and they have successfully enhanced my engagement with them. It has also helped me understand what type of donations sell well for them, and what is less suitable.

We are hearing more and more from our clients in the Membership sector about how increased personalisation is welcomed – and expected – from their members, and just how powerful this can be. In the 2015 Memberwise survey, online member personalisation ranks as the 3rd highest priority for the year ahead, with members’ expectations for an interactive, engaging and value driven online experience coming in at 6th place (out of 23). 

"The membership sector is on a major journey to increase and enhance online personalisation, engagement, value revenue streams, and growth.” Richard Gott, Founder, The MemberWise Network

The process of personalising the member, or consumer, experience is a new challenge, but those who are embracing it are really increasing their chances of strengthen the bond they have with their members. The process requires careful thought, software that can help facilitate this and also insights into what really makes members tick. The payoff is worth it though. Members are engaging with providers of other services every day. The likes of Amazon and Google for example, are blazing an impressive trail of personalised user experience:

amazon“Recommendations for you, Lindsey, based on your recent purchases with Amazon….”

 google    “Leave now for work – if you leave now your journey will take 1 hour and 4 minutes…”

Nevertheless, my recent experience shows that it is not just the big players who can get this right. If charity shops can increase user experience to secure a greater connection with those whom they rely on, there is no reason why membership organisations can’t benefit from the same opportunity to strengthen engagement with their members. 

By Lindsey Nadin, Senior Research Manager

This entry was posted in Membership, B2C, tagged Communication, Retail and posted on August 19, 2015

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