“How did you do it?” ask my fellow Club Officers, our Club President, even Toastmasters International. My initial reply “I don’t know…it just happened!” The inquiries continue “How did you sponsor 6 members during your first month as the new VP of Membership?” I reflect on recent club activities and adjust my response to, “It has been a journey, a customer journey.”
A customer journey enables you to improve your customer experience, through the customer’s perspective. It documents the customer experience (how they may think, feel, act) to understand their needs and adapt when the needs change. Similar to how cell phone have adapted from flip phone, to touch screen and hands free technology to suit the customer need.
When I joined Chosen Voices TM Club April 2016, I was terrified of conducting speeches even though I facilitate meetings for a living. My past failures left a mark on my confidence, so much so, I had defined speeches as a dreaded experience where you and you alone must force yourself to recite material. Very quickly I learned that speeches were more emotional and powerful than scripted words. My fellow club members were invested in my success as well as their own. The encouragement and support enabled me to build trust in this room filled with strangers, fellow Toastmasters I now call friends.
Last year, I knew very little about membership building contests, awards and incentives. What I observed was nagging question we asked first time or returning guests “What did you think of today’s meeting? Do you want to join?”. I was confused why we asked this question. We can’t assume guests know what the Toastmaster program is all about, nor can we expect them to join after attending a 60 minute meeting.
I struggled with this approach and soon learned of the continuous pressures to build and retain members. It dawned on me, we were asking people to join from a position of anxiousness. There had to be a better way to approach this dilemma? During a club meeting discussing building membership, I was biting my tongue to hold back my opinion, as a newly inducted member. Then suddenly I exclaimed, “Why are we acting like teenagers, waiting by the phone because our crush said they might call? We are approaching guests the wrong way. We sound desperate.” Soon after in similar discussions with a Club Officer I inquired, “Why are we investing more time with prospects and guests, while our fully committed members are not receiving our support?” “It feels like we are a cell phone conglomerate offering new features and specials to new customers, while existing customers don’t have decent cell phone reception.”
At that point, I knew…I knew I wanted to develop a new approach and share it with my Club. The universe has a funny way of providing just the opportunity I was looking for. In January, Ramadam Almeida moved from VP Membership to VP Education , leaving an opening for volunteers for VPM. On Feb 1st, 2017 with limited knowledge of the regular tasks of VPM, I jumped at the opportunity to improve the approach and became the new VPM!
My first order of business, learn from my predecessor. Ramadam and I discussed what was working, not working and what new ideas we had for the roles of VPM and VPE. We inspired each other, brainstormed how to involve all members, without overwhelming them. At that point, it hit me! I needed to create a customer journey map!
A customer journey map includes many stages. A customer’s interest and motivation changes at each stage, as their knowledge of the Toastmasters program increases:
- Prospects may be curious, yet lack information, are not invested in our Club goals at this stage
- Guests may be confused or intrigued of what they observed during a Club meeting and want more information
- Newly inducted members are excited and motivated! They can’t wait to explore the different manuals and meeting roles
- Active Members are proud of their own accomplishments as they grow. They can’t wait to tell their friends, colleagues, neighbors about their experiences
- Renewing Members have experienced the value first hand and want more!
Quickly, I realized the information or expectations we had of Prospects/Guests didn’t match their interest & motivation levels. I consolidated all the information, templates, communications we collectively provide to individuals that interact with our Club. I created a manual for Guest & Member Services outlining the appropriate information to provide at each stage (Prospect, Guest and Member). I shared my mission statement with the Club Officers, "The folks that join, will join because they see the value in Toastmasters and they can’t imagine themselves not being a member of Chosen Voices!"
The club atmosphere shifted in the short month of February
- Our club installed 4 new Club Officers: Ramila Mudarth as Sargent at Arms, Rehanna Khan as VP Public Relations, Ramadam Almeida as VP Education and myself as VP Membership
- All 4 new Club Officers attended Officer Training with our President Nagwa Hanna. We were excited to shared our experiences, what we learned and what new ideas we wanted to promote
- We added a flare of excitement when inducting new members, with party store hand clappers, banners and photo opportunities
- We started emailing Meeting Highlights; including pictures, quotes, inspirational moments and upcoming events. Guests on blind copy to share in the excitement, yet not the reply all that may follow
We sent each guest a survey with a twist. One or two questions for meeting feedback. The remaining questions focused on them, asking the customer, “How can Chosen Voices support you to achieve your goals!”
You could feel the energy shift in meetings instantly!
- We had 5 members competing in the Area 32 Evaluation & Speech Contest on Mar 1st, from a club roaster of 15 members
- Active members are completing new roles and more speeches
- Meeting attendance has increased as members are carving out time in their busy day (we are a corporate club conducting Club meetings during our lunch hour)
- Prospects are receiving just enough information to understand the agenda and what to expect prior to attending their first meeting
- Guests are asking more specific questions about the program at the end of the meeting. Our latest member joined minutes after her first meeting!
My journey stated with the thought of a no pressure approach to membership. It suddenly turned into a belief of a customer journey I shared with my club. Which unexpectedly erupted into a vision which transformed our Club’s approach to prospects, guests and members alike. I strongly believe this is how the entire club collectively, attracted 6 new members to join Chosen Voices in only 3 weeks’ time. As of March 1st 2017, we are now 21 members strong and enjoying every minute of it!
CHOSEN VOICES member since April 2016
Guest & Member Services
Vice President Membership