Your AMS Can Be Cumbersome Without Support
The provider of your AMS should be part of the package. That is, once the association management software is implemented, your provider should be available as a safety net. If your provider isn’t filling you with confidence that they won’t cut and run, you may want to consider other options.
When your association invests in an association management system, it does so with the intent of making the management of membership simpler. A good portion of the time, this is achieved without issue. However, in some unfortunate circumstances, the AMS some organizations invest in can be more painful than pleasant.
The cause of this pain can vary, but there is a common culprit that often serves as the splinter in the foot of your organization. It’s sad to say, but when your AMS becomes a bother instead of a benefit, the usual suspect behind the turmoil is the provider of your solution. You might ask, why would the company who designed and developed your association management software torpedo it? The issue, in this scenario, does not generally originate out of intent or malice on the part of the provider. The harm tends to come from a hands-off, inattentive approach. Nonetheless, if your AMS provider does not support their solution on behalf of your association in some form, you could be on a sinking ship.
For this reason, it is so important to discuss with your prospective AMS provider their support philosophy when evaluating whether to invest and implement their solution. Will your investment get your administrators provider-lead onboarding, training and education regarding the use of the AMS? Will the provider be available to your administrators should they need to troubleshoot an AMS issue? Does the provider offer end-user / member assistance and technical support? These are all questions you will want to get answers to.
If your AMS provider does not provide ongoing support for its solution, the following are potential downfalls that your association may need to prepare for.
- Prolonged Onboarding
- Without training from the provider, your administrators will need to do a bit of backwards engineering to get acquainted with the association management software. This will, of course, take considerably longer than being taught how to accomplish things on the AMS right out of the gate. What’s more, as educated as administrators may get on their own, they may never learn the ins and outs of the system entirely.
- Tech Support
- When the provider doesn’t offer tech support to AMS end-users, your association administrators will have to serve as your de facto tech department. This will have several potentially negative impacts. The first being pretty obvious – administrators aren’t tech professionals. This could spell disaster for both your administrators and the members they are serving. Administrators’ morale will be impacted because they will be assigned a task they do not feel competent executing. Members will not always get a satisfactory resolution to the problem they are having. Secondly, administrators cannot be expected to take on their normal responsibilities, as well as an IT role and be expected to succeed in both. Tech issues and conducting troubleshooting sessions will take time away from actually managing the association’s membership. The last potential negative impact I will mention here is the dwindling of membership. Nothing puts people off more online than difficult to use or malfunctioning software. If the user experience of your AMS isn’t good, and members get the sense that no one is resolving the issues – they will eventually bail. After all, why would someone pay dues for a subpar experience.
- Lack of Evolution
- If your AMS is no longer being serviced or supported by the provider, your association management system will be incapable of growing with your organization. If your processes change or your membership needs evolve, you will not be able to adapt – you will be anchored to the same old, same old. As opposed to an AMS that is regularly supported, serviced and updated by its provider, an AMS left adrift by the provider will only ever be what it was the day you first implemented the solution. It goes without saying, this approach will not be future-proof and you will not be afforded a growing feature set that you can benefit your membership with.
- Rendered Obsolete
- Operating systems and web browsers are constantly being updated, with improved versions being released all of the time. If your AMS provider doesn’t keep up with the Joneses, your member management software could very well be rendered unusable or at the very least, a pain to use. If your system isn’t supported by the provider, your association could literally disappear over night.
Seek out an AMS provider that fervently stands behind their solution and commits to comprehensive support of the roll-out, implementation and ongoing operation of the system. Don’t be left high and dry, trying to figure out things on your own. It’s only right for a provider to preserve the reputation of their solution by supporting those associations who invest in it.