Improve Member Retention by Designing Frictionless Member Experiences Your Association

By Amanda Kaiser posted 11-08-2018 14:24


In the age of infinite choice, organizations cannot afford to make the purchase experience difficult. We see one-click online ordering, retail stores with no checkout lines, curbside pick up, and more. All of these changes, which were unheard of just a decade ago, seek to make the consumer experience easier. You could call it frictionless.

The only places where we still see friction-full buyer experiences are where buyers have few choices. The airlines, utilities, government offices, hospitals, etc.

If you work for an association where membership is required to maintain certification or an association with a 98% retention rate and no competition, your association might be able to get away with a bit of friction.

The rest of us need to design frictionless experiences wherever members interact with us, including:

  • Intuitive new member applications
  • Easy to understand membership tiers (or no levels)
  • Immediate access to behind-the-pay-wall member benefits upon joining
  • Timely, valuable new member messaging that solves the problem they currently have
  • Professional development opportunities even if the member cannot come to an in-person event
  • Easy access to other members who have the same niche project, goal, or challenge
  • Quick response to members who call, email, or chat
  • Quick-to-read but highly valuable newsletters
  • Intuitive website navigation
  • Curated networking
  • Customizable data
  • Helpfulness
  • Welcomes
  • Smiles

Try standing in your member’s shoes and list all the points of friction between members and the association’s policies, or staff, or systems. Get started by picking an easy friction point to solve and gradually work through your list eliminating all the friction in your members’ experiences.

Amanda Kaiser is a qualitative researcher for the association community and a member engagement expert. Channeling member insights, Amanda writes a weekly blog at