Quality onboarding is essential to long-term success.
Association executives are becoming more and more cognizant of how important customer data, and in turn their customer database, is to their organization’s success. Yet most associations struggle to establish a culture of data, where everyone understands the value of customer data. A first step in fixing that culture starts at the beginning with the onboarding of new staff. Here are six items all associations should have as part of their customer database training to help create that culture from day one!
Centralize the training
Many associations leave training to each department, which makes sense since those are the people who oversee the day-to-day activities of a new hire. Unfortunately, when training on a centralized system that everyone uses, training ends up as consistent as a game of telephone – where each department follows slightly different practices, and so the output of data is not at all consistent. Instead, there should be a designated business owner of the customer database who provides training to all staff. This helps ensure all staff get a clear and consistent message about the role of the data within the organization.
Explain the value
Because most staff are not involved in the big picture, associations never explain specifically the role of the customer database in serving the big picture. Sure, all association executives will say things like, “Our organization is our members, so member data is important.” But that’s not actionable in any meaningful way. Instead, explain how the data is being leveraged, how good data has an impact on customer experience, and how leadership leverages the data to make decisions. Then tie those hows back to why their role is so important.
Provide a map
No association uses one system for all their business processes, and the all-in-one association management system is becoming less and less common. New staff are likely bombarded with different tools, from the customer facing systems like the CMS, CRM, LMS, eMarketing to the internal tools for timesheets, documents, messaging, and meetings. Providing a visual diagram – or map – that shows all the different systems, what purpose each system serves, and how the systems are connected (do your customer systems have SSO? Is any data shared/imported? Etc.) can help clue new staff into a bigger picture. Particularly the connections between systems can help them understand how bad data in one place has a ripple effect across the organization.
Define their role
While the specific tasks may be delegated by the department, having a consistent definition of everyone’s role across the organization ensures people don’t think data quality is not their problem. In reality, it is everyone’s responsibility, and everyone will likely need some level of proficiency within the system. A minimum proficiency by role might be defined as the following:
- Executive Team – Able to pull reports from the system
- Directors – Able to pull reports and look up records
- Senior Associates – Able to pull reports, look up and edit records
- Associates – Able to pull reports, look up, add and edit records