Mind the Gap
“Mind the gap is an audible or visual warning issued to rail passengers in the UK to take caution while crossing a spatial gap between the train door and the station platform.” It’s nice to get a warning when you might not know or remember that there’s a gap that may cause you harm if you’re not careful.
There are a lot of gaps in our lives—blind spots, missed opportunities, things that we just miss because we either are not paying attention or our belief system is so hard-wired that we tune out information because we are so sure we know the “truth.”
You may remember the Mark Twain quote, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, it is what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
Here’s a good example. Bain & Company found that 80% of CEOs believe they offer a superior customer experience; only 8% of their customers agree. Forrester Research defines customer experience as “how customers [members] perceive their interactions with your organization.”
So now, here are four important questions (multiple layers, but worth the modest complexity) to consider about your member experiences:
- What is our member experience? Do we have a defined annual plan of what it should be? How do we make that experience so compelling that we are the most important relationship in our members’ professional lives?
- Who is in charge of the member experience? Is it their sole responsibility? How are they measured and rewarded?
- How would your members describe the experience you provide? Would they describe it as a true experience or just a series of transactions?
- How is your most important annual experience designed? Is it an event, a convention, an annual meeting, a trade show or a live experience designed to inspire, connect, engage and align the rest of your annual member experiences into a unified, cohesive association brand experience?
One more question. Do you, as 80% of CEOs believe, have a superior member experience? Are you sure?
Why does any of this matter? For starters, we live in an experience economy, and to compete, thrive, stay relevant and grow, experiences are the new table stakes of competitive advantage. Just look around at every successful brand, retailer, hotel, consumer packaged goods, or even other membership organizations—experiences trump products, services, conventions and the traditional association offering by a wide margin.
There is an experience gap; it’s real, and it’s increasing, and now is a great time to learn where it is, why it exists and how large it is. Mindful leadership requires the space, time and intention to look around the corner on behalf of your members, your board and your team.
Where’s the gap in your member experience?
Now is a good time to mind it.