For every membership organisation there will be members who come and go. Their reasons for leaving you can be wide ranging, just as their reasons for joining probably were. But while you may think it is more important to focus your efforts on attracting new members, there is an argument for trying to tempt back those who have come and gone.
A vital part of knowing how to manage your membership is knowing what motivates your members. In this post we will look at why you should try and get back long lost members, the reasons why they left and how to entice them back.
Why You Should Reach Out To Past Members
Imagine having a ready pool of potential members to tap into. Better still, a pool of people you know are interested in what you have to offer. This is what all those long lost members represent. Whether they were long time members or only joined for a few months, tempting them back can be far easier than you think – and doesn’t need resource heavy recruitment drives or special events.
Fact is, people may have left because of something you could easily have rectified for them. For many of us, it is far easier to simply cancel our membership than convey any concerns or difficulties which are impacting our enjoyment of the organisation. A simple email from you addressing the reason for leaving can be all it takes to entice them back.
The reasons why they left we will explore below, but part of managing your member information should involve asking why they are leaving. So make sure you set up your membership management software to ask why they are cancelling.
Exploring The Reasons Why They Left
In order to know what is required to entice a past member back, it is important to know why they left in the first place. Traditionally, this information could have been hard to collect, but with today’s online membership software, it is quite easy to discreetly ask why someone wants to leave.
So let’s have a look at some of the common reasons why members may choose to leave your organisation:
- Cost – membership fees can easily account for a large portion of disposable income so if circumstances change, they are often the first to go when tightening the purse strings.
- Perceived Value – if the reason for leaving is because they do not feel they are getting value for their membership fees, then you need to explore this further.
- Inactive Member – little point in paying for membership of an organisation they are not active with.
- No Longer Suits Their Needs – your organisation may have addressed a particular need when they joined. Over time this need has lessened and now they no longer get any value from being a member.
- Have Joined Another Organisation – it happens, sometimes another organisation is more attractive. If this is the reason then you should follow it up to find out what makes your competition a better prospect.
- Not Satisfied – there can be many reasons behind someone being dissatisfied with your organisation so it is important to follow this up with a phone call to discuss things.
I would also encourage adding in a ‘other’ choice as reasons for leaving can be very diverse and may not come under common reasons. I would also suggest including a box where they can leave more information, particularly if no.6 was their reason for leaving.
Bringing Them Back ‘Into The Fold’
Bringing past members back to your organisation can be as simple as sending an email, perhaps with a special offer, or as hard as making a phone call. The initial task for you is to sort past members according to their reasons for leaving. This is important because enticing them back cannot be done with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Your next contact with them needs to specifically address their reasons for leaving and offer some kind of solution e.g. 6 months reduced membership because cost was their reason.
For some, an email may be all that is required, for others you will need to go the extra mile with a phone call and discussion about why they left – particularly for reasons 2 and 6 above. Above all you need to be seen to be treating each past member individually and show that you understand their reasons for leaving.
Your biggest question now is probably - When should we begin contacting them? How long after they have left? Again you need to sort each person according to their reason for leaving. For those under reasons 2, 3, 4 or 6 above, then you should act on it as soon as possible. There is still a strong chance of reversing their decision to leave, so long as you can show you understand their reasons. This demonstrates a good level of customer service on your part, showing that you care about your members and that you take their satisfaction seriously.
It is a good idea to set-up a responder email to be sent as soon as someone cancels their membership. In it express your sadness at their decision to leave and ask if there is anything you could do to help them reconsider.
Just because a member leaves does not mean they cannot be encouraged to come back. By demonstrating an understanding of their reasons for leaving and offering solutions where possible you can help increase, and maintain your membership pool.
To get a clearer understanding of how PaySubsOnline.com can help you win back long lost members why not take a free trial or online demo?