Comprehensive End-User Support
Your association has to have an AMS solution that functions smoothly. It has to be easy to use. The user experience must be considered. It should be customized to your needs and configurable to your growth. Processes that are typically cumbersome should be automated. It should allow you to house valuable resources. The solution should be optimized to empower the management of your membership. It should do all of these things, and more. However, even if it checks all of these boxes and goes above and beyond with several other strong features, none of it will matter if it isn’t supported by the provider. No matter how impressive a solution’s feature-set is, without the backing of a supportive provider, it’s all a house of cards.
Your administrators and members will be made knowledgeable on the daily use of your AMS, but they can’t be expected to be experts on a technical or systems level. For this reason, you need to confirm whether your provider plans to stand behind their offering, or cut and run as soon as you sign on the dotted line.
Some methods of support that you’ll want to explore when discussing the approach with your provider include the following.
- Good Shepherd
- An AMS isn’t a complex tool – or at least, it shouldn’t be. Learning how to use it for greatest impact should not be a tedious exercise. However, your association should be formally onboarded to a new system by the provider. It doesn’t need to be a lengthy or drawn-out process. Frankly, it should only take a couple of hours. Getting key personnel within your association trained up is not a large undertaking but is an important support process nonetheless. Having the provider’s knowledgeable representatives coach your administrators on how to use the AMS will encourage confidence in using the system within your association – and afford them a strong level of comfort that they may not have had otherwise. However, preliminary training should just be the beginning of the support efforts your provider intends to offer.
- Training will set your association up for success. Your administrators, having become familiar with the solution, will know how to navigate its features in a way that makes their efforts more impactful. However, just because they are well acquainted with the features they use every day, doesn’t mean they’ll be so comfortable with other features they may not use quite as often. That’s where the insurance of having your provider ready to assist comes in. With the provider as reference, your administrators will always harness the power of your AMS, in its entirety. If they forget how a process is meant to function or aren’t quite sure how best to implement a particular tool, your provider should be able to easily brush them up on its use, in no time at all. When ongoing provider support comes as part of the package, your return on investment skyrockets – as your administrators will always be kept up to snuff on everything the solution has to offer.
- Advocacy at All Levels
- 99.9% of the time, your AMS should run like clockwork. A great solution will not trip your users up frequently. However, just like any piece of technology or software, it is susceptible to error every now and again. When these rare events occur, it’s important to have someone to draw on, in a pinch, that knows how to resolve the issue straight away. Not only that – your administrators and members, respectively, should have means to report issues directly to the solution provider. Both administrators and members should be equipped with an easy to use portal that allows them to communicate any troubles they may have run into with the system. This way, knowledge of the issue can make its way to the provider immediately, instead of having to pass through several hands before making it to the people who can meaningfully evaluate and address the concern. Besides, your administrators don’t have time to deal with technical difficulties being reported to them by members, nor do they have the expertise to resolve system issues. So, the question becomes – why would this type of correspondence be sent to administrators at all? It seems quite clear – members should be able to directly interact with the provider instead of involving the administrator at all. Your provider should be equipped to support your association at all levels, and stand behind their solution by rectifying any issues arising in its use.
- Evolutionary Mindset
- You should see in your prospective provider a penchant for continuous improvement and growth. The last thing you want to do is invest in a solution that is what it is, and can never become anything more. An AMS that is set in stone may be beneficial to your users for a period of time. However, its utility will eventually fade as circumstances change and it fails to adapt. What you need is an AMS that is capable of being added on to or revised, and a provider willing to collaborate with you, in an ongoing fashion, to make sure their solution is meeting your evolving needs and empowering your users’ efforts. The industry your association services is constantly changing and evolving. This requires that your association match the shifts in the market – and, it goes without saying that your AMS should follow suit, empowering your reimagining and repositioning.
- Quick on the Draw
- The support you receive from your solution provider has to be snappy. This is another reason why providing a direct line of communication between members and the provider is so important – it speeds up the response. The longer members have to sit idle, waiting for an answer to their inquiry, the greater the chance they will become disinterested in the ecosystem of your AMS as a whole. Users need to be made to feel the system they are participating in is a living and breathing one. A large part of achieving that is making sure their inquiries don’t reverberate off the walls and bounce back to them, without meaningful resolution to their question. Inquire about how the provider approaches communication with users. Members need to know that their insight is valuable and that the provider plans to address any concerns in a timely and meaningful way.
- Proponent of Retention
- Along with growing your community, your association is constantly focused on retaining current members. There’s so much that goes into member retention, it can sometimes be daunting to think about. However, it can be made much simpler to stomach if you have a provider that’s in your corner. Members’ interpretation of your association comes mostly from their experience within your AMS. Are they deriving value, is there an established and active community, are they able to communicate easily with administrators and provider representatives? All of these activities can be executed within an AMS solution – but they’ll be made much more powerful if backed by your provider. When your AMS is firing on all cylinders, it’s most likely because of a diligent provider. Your provider might be an unsung hero, as they may go unnoticed by your users. However, a supportive provider will certainly contribute to your association’s ability to retain members, since they will make sure the user experience is enjoyable.
- Efficiency Propagation
- An administrator wants to manage membership and a member wants to exploit value. The more efficient each can be in achieving these desired outcomes, the more contented they will be. Unfortunately, both administrators and members can become distracted in their due course, at no fault of their own. If your AMS provider is not up to the task, users will spend more time resolving the system than they will executing on what it is they are there for in the first place. Good news is, there are plenty of providers that understand how important it is to ensure their solution does not create barriers for users. Empowering both administrator and member users with a direct line of communication to provider support will free administrators from fielding technical issue inquiries and will allow members to receive the quickest resolution possible. This approach will allow administrators to stay focused on management of the association as a whole, and will ensure members can access the valuable resources they wish to consume.
- Fending Off Obsolescence
- Your AMS should remain compatible with the latest and greatest. Operating systems and web browsers are always being phased in and out. This would be a going concern if you did not have a diligent and proactive solution provider. As we all know, software that doesn’t receive frequent updates to keep it functioning effectively under current operating systems will become clunky and untrustworthy. You don’t want to live with the worry that your solution will be rendered obsolete by a digital changing of the guard. Fortunately, you don’t have to – when you invest in a provider that commits to keeping their solution in the fight. The only way to truly future-proof your AMS is to have a provider that cares about the future usability of their software.
The features of the AMS you invest in are very important. The solution you choose needs to function in a way that empowers your association’s efforts. However, don’t neglect the importance of the provider behind the solution. Vet them thoroughly and confirm whether they truly care about the service they are suggesting you take on. Without a shadow of a doubt, the most important component of your AMS is the presence of a supportive and responsive provider. When a provider backs their solution, every effort your association makes to ensure a great experience for its members will be positively augmented.
At Guild, we offer best-in-class support. You will not find an AMS provider that rivals our solution backing. We are proud of the service we provide and we prove that by standing behind it, day in and day out. To learn more about how Guild supports its solution, please click here.