The Potential Pitfall that Dissuades Prospects from Becoming Members
Avoid obstacles to converting members
Your association has a strong presence on the applicable social media platforms, you’re frequently drawing the right people to your website, the content you are presenting is concise and accurate, and everything you are doing is positively convincing prospects that they want to become full-fledged, card-carrying members. However, despite all of the things you are doing right to convert, something is tripping people up at the eleventh hour. This stumbling block could be the way your association requires interested parties to pay registration fees. If the payment process is too restrictive or unduly clunky and confusing, the prospect can be scared off. Once that happens, there can be no redemption. This final step to membership (signing up) must almost happen unconsciously or the prospect will be lost for good.
What’s more, a cumbersome or subpar transactions system will have a serious and detrimental impact on your professional administrators. Without a streamlined system, things will fall through the cracks, processing duration will not be consistent and will take unnecessarily long, and administrators will be burdened and will need to duplicate efforts where they shouldn’t have to.
So, if we want to keep prospective members in an autopilot state as they go through the application process and we need to lighten the load on administrators, your association management system’s transaction component must offer the following abilities.
- Gets Out of the Way
- Among the following, this is probably the most important. Anyone signing up to your online AMS is most likely very familiar with conducting transactions on the web. Most of our purchases these days happen online. So, there is nothing to be concerned about when it comes to user recognition of online transactions. Making payments online is nothing short of second-nature now. However, if your transactions process is overly complicated or convoluted, this will disallow the user from settling into that familiar territory. If making payment isn’t intuitive, the prospective member could get startled away from ever following through on their registration. The best payment processing widgets get out of the user’s way so they can provide the information needed and get on with the application.
- Encourages the New Member to Get Involved Immediately
- If a payment system is functioning as it should, it will gather the information needed from the new member, process the payment immediately and get them into the AMS posthaste. A new applicant shouldn’t have to wait to capitalize on their enthusiasm for becoming a part of your online community. Make sure transactions happen promptly so that member interest does not wane. Someone who is excited about their membership should be encouraged to continue in that excitement. The best way to accomplish this is to give them the ability to get involved in what the community has to offer as soon as possible. Your payment process should allow them to do that.
- Offers Choice for Payment Method
- Your AMS should allow you to setup your transaction process with whatever payment method(s) you prefer to prescribe for your membership. No one knows your association’s administrative workflow and the preference of your membership like you. So, you should be empowered to pick and choose what payment options work for your ecosystem – instead of being obliged or bound to one or the other.
- Makes Things Easier for Administrators (Automation)
- Processing of payments should be automated. The technology for automatic processing has been around for quite awhile now so there’s no reason not to integrate that ability into your AMS. If your association’s transactions are cumbersome and have to be processed manually, your administrators will not be able to remain nimble on their feet. They will be weighed down by the clunky and slow manner of processing payments – if they are trapped in an analog world. As terrible an impact as it will have on your administrators, the effect it will have on members may be worse. With administrators bogged down, they will not be able to comprehensively service members. This will cause a negative result when it comes to the frequency of membership renewal. Ensure the payment processing is completed automatically through your AMS, so you can be satisfied in knowing that your administrators will not be distracted from managing your membership unnecessarily.
- Empowers Administrators to Oversee Processing
- Your administrators should be able to see the whole picture when it comes to the comings and goings of your AMS. This includes payment processing. Your member management system should empower administrators to track the status of payments – whether they be completed, unpaid or pending. Having your administrators in the know will encourage the staying power of membership and will also allow your association to affirmatively convert on new membership more often. The reason for this is that administrators will be able to see, in real-time, applicants progress toward following through on membership payments. This will support them in accurately targeting what prospects may need a reach out or nudge to encourage them to take the plunge.
- No Slowdown on Either End
- This has been mentioned in passing above – but it’s important enough to mention again specifically – the processing of transactions has to be quick, both on the administration side and the member side. Delays just allow people to second guess and also make them feel leery. If the payment process doesn’t happen promptly and smoothly, the thought may arise – if they can’t do this simple task efficiently, can I expect them to provide much value? With a snappy transaction process, doubts will never enter a new member’s mind.
The most discouraging scenario in the conversion process is when something slows the momentum of a prospective member’s intention to register to your association. Once someone has been convinced that membership to your association is valuable to them, something as inconsequential as paying registration fees should not make them reconsider their decision. Everything should get out of their way as much as reasonably possible once they’ve made their affirmative decision.