How to deal with angry members of your Association

How to deal with angry members of your Association

By Nick Koerbin

Have you had to deal with an angry member complaining about a service your association is providing?

Members are the lifeblood of associations, but when a member calls you to complain, how do you handle these incidents?

Most associations have processes to ensure these occurrences are handled graciously and carefully. How do you deal with a member or customer complaint? Here are some points you may wish to consider

😀 Remain Calm, Collected and Kind
Perhaps you have a disgruntled member who would like nothing more than to bring you or your team down because you responded to an email slower than expected. When conflict arises, leaving your emotions at the door and addressing the member in a calming tone is essential.

😀Acknowledge Their Concern and Thank Them
“Kill them with kindness” is the mantra—repeat that to yourself. A member has decided they do not want to suffer in silence anymore. When you have a member who comes to you with a complaint, you first must thank them for their feedback. The complaining member has taken time to inform you of how they feel when they could have quickly cancelled their membership and gone elsewhere.

😀Reiterate Their Concern Back to Them
After you have thanked them for their complaint, they might still be disgruntled because the situation is yet to be resolved. It is best practice to reiterate what they have said back to them. A reiteration might sound like this, “We want to ensure all our members are delighted with our services. So that I can best help you, can I please clarify that you are feeling dissatisfied because…”

😀Offer Care, Support and Guidance
A complaint means that a person’s trust in you—the association—has been fractured. Regaining that sense of trust and loyalty means going the extra mile by offering them personalised care and support. You can make it right no matter who is wrong by easing their dissatisfaction.
If they believe your membership rate is too expensive, it can be as simple as asking them what would make that investment worth their while. Is it offering more innovative digital strategies such as webinars or networking events? It is then essential to take that feedback onboard and see if there is anything the association can do to accommodate their request.


😀If In Doubt, Apologise
Sometimes, you need help to rectify the situation. If you reach that point in the conflict, just apologise for the inconvenience and assure them it will not happen again.

😀Follow Up
Once the complaint has been addressed and you have contained their aggression with an apology, support and guidance, it can all be packaged in a neat follow-up call or email.

😀Document All Complaints
Every association should have a process in place to record any complaints and view these complaints as valuable information to assess if the organisation is meeting the needs of their members.

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