When shopping for membership management software, Member-driven organizations hunt for a platform that can meet a long list of very specific feature requirements.
You know you need a system that offers (for example) Contact Record Management, Email Campaigns, a Member Portal, etc.
But after you pick a platform to adopt, it’s not uncommon for membership managers to discover that they need some other things that didn’t make the list!
Don’t get caught in the trap of committing to a membership management platform that you can’t enjoy full value from by considering the following 5 items when shopping for one!
1. A Useful Knowledgebase
You can pick the most powerful membership management software in the world, but if you can’t figure out how to use it, you’ll never get value from it.
That’s why checking for a proper knowledgebase is critical to getting the most out of your organizations investment.
How to Evaluate a Knowledgebase
The first thing you’ll want to keep an eye out for when evaluating the knowledgebase of a membership management platform is the relevance and recency of it’s articles. Membership management software is always updating, so it’s knowledgebase content ought to be as well!
If you find screenshots that don’t match the look and feel of the platform, that’s a red-flag that the article is out of date. If you find a lot, that’s an indication that the entire knowledgebase is!
Keep an eye out for information on when articles were published. If you’re finding a lack of recent ones, that can be another indication of a bad knowledgebase.
Keep a casual eye out for the overall quality of knowledgebase articles. They ought to be clear, descriptive, direct, and share a common format. Articles that are confusing or lack adequate description aren’t helpful, so keep a critical eye when evaluating a knowledgebase!
2. Chat Button Support
Software that is powerful is almost always going to be complex, but that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult.
The difference is a matter of having access to the help you need, when and how you need it!
Every membership management platform will offer basic support ticketing, but in 2019, this should not be enough. Filing a support ticket makes sense when you have a significant issue that doesn’t require immediate resolution, but for everything else, you ought to have better options.
Membership management platforms like Member365 offer a chat button to immediately connect you with support professionals. For issues big and small, you can click it whenever you need, and connect with immediate resolution to your problems.
Using the chat button ought to be a quick, casual decision that you can use as often as you’d like. Connecting with a support professional shouldn’t take long, replies ought to be prompt, and your professional ought to be knowledgeable. Whether you’re in the market for new membership management software or not, it’s worth holding your service provider to a modern standard for support!
3. Automated Recurring Billing
Automated Recurring Billing, or ARB, is a simple feature that can offer tremendous value to member-driven organizations.
Setting your membership categories up with ARB lets you automatically charge renewal fees to a members credit card upon their renewal date. This spares your members the annual hassle of managing renewal emails and payments, and spares you the need to devote time and attention every year to chase your members down for renewal!
With the focus off renewals and payments, members and managers can keep there focus where it counts – on membership!
Converting your memberships to ARB isn’t even difficult! Systems like Member365 let you offer it to your members as opt-in or opt-out, and can be combined with promotional pricing to encourage ARB sign-ups. While your whole membership may not convert to ARB, even a small percentage can have a big impact on the time you devote to managing renewals!
4. Continued Learning
You’re a professional who is committed to growing, learning, and becoming better at what you do. Would you want to purchase membership management software from a business that doesn’t share the same values?
Those responsible for the tools you use at the core of your every-day work ought to have a vested interest in making your work better. Those responsible for your membership management software ought to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of your work that goes beyond software.
Whether it’s written content, webinars, videos, courses, etc – those that responsible for your membership management software ought to be able to demonstrate that they know a thing or two about membership management!
Membership management is always changing, and you ought to be partnered with a business that is leading the charge! When evaluating software, think of your investment as a service as well as a product. Today’s membership management software is always in development, so consider that you’re investing in the people that make a product as much as you’re investing in the product itself.
If there’s nothing new that a membership management software business can teach you, consider finding another!
5. Transparent, Involved Development
It’s easy to get caught in thinking of software as a product, but when you’re paying a monthly fee, it’s a service!
You should view your monthly subscription as not only as a license to access software, but access a team of professionals committed to developing and improving that software!
What has been your experience when requesting new features, submitting bugs, or offering suggestions?
Does your membership management software even provide you channels with which you can do so?
Membership management is always changing. Your software should – at least – be responding to these changes by inviting community feedback, implementing new features, refining existing ones, and always developing. In the best cause, they should be causing those changes!
Technology changes fast, so getting longevity from your investment in membership management software requires you to find a system that you can be confident will meet your future needs as well as your present ones.
Expect More From MMS
Features are a fundamental consideration when evaluating whether a membership management system is right for you, but they aren’t the full story. There are also quality-of-life considerations that can make a big difference in the value you ultimately enjoy from your investment in software.
Above, we’ve presented a few that we hope will have an impact on your thinking when using or shopping for membership management software. Feature requirements can sometimes narrow our focus and lead to decisions that look good on paper, but are hard to live with. By expanding your criteria to include things like support, development, continued learning, etc – you can better ensure that your investment meets not only your current needs, but future ones as well!