Continuous Improvement to Benefit Members
Judith M. Mueller
In today's global economy, associations, businesses and organizations are competing in a new, progressive market. In order to continue down a successful track, APWA must be aware of the driving force behind our success-members. Without members, this association would not exist. Knowing what you want and value is crucial to sustain an active, engaged and committed membership of 26,000 and growing.
In an effort to better understand your needs, while simultaneously measuring APWA's potential for continued success and improvement, we are in the process of developing a member survey. This survey will cover a range of factors and the results will provide specific feedback on what you value and where changes might be made. The development and initiation of this survey will also provide an opportunity for APWA to better understand what you value, as well as provide an opportunity for us to understand what is needed to keep all members connected.
When this instrument is completed, a representative sample of APWA's members will be provided the opportunity to complete the survey document. With the help of those members, we look to increase the worth of APWA products and services, and identify unmet membership needs.
Evaluating the key dimensions of member satisfaction With the development of the member survey, we are looking to evaluate five key areas of member fulfillment, based on the dimensions of member service quality acronym, R-A-T-E-R:
Reliability - Providing the services and products promised to members;
Assurance - Gaining members' trust and confidence by demonstrating the association's competence;
Tangibles - Offering high quality products and services;
Empathy - Providing individual attention to the needs of members in a manner that demonstrates an understanding of their points of view; and
Responsiveness - Being willing and able to solve members' problems quickly.
The evaluation of these five dimensions will allow APWA to enhance its image and reputation, pinpoint opportunities to improve products and services, and uncover ways to address member satisfaction and retention.
How will a member survey benefit APWA? We believe listening to our members is crucial, because you are an invaluable source of information for identifying quality requirements, improving service processes, effectively allocating resources, and anticipating future trends. Understanding how well our association is living up to member expectations can mean the difference between success and failure, and the success of the association depends heavily on the success of our members.
It is also important to touch base with our members from time to time to obtain feedback and opinions regarding our performance. We continue to implement the goals that were adopted as a result of our strategic planning effort, and a survey is one more way to verify that we are on target, or that adjustments need to be made. You may have some suggestions that could benefit APWA and we want to hear them. It is also imperative to know how our members are doing, if our programs are working, and if there are any ideas that could enhance APWA activities and programs.
A customized survey will:
Your response equals success The survey is a step toward increasing our value and improving our service to you. I believe this survey will help APWA to meet current member expectations, as well as target potential members. Consequently, it is important that members who are randomly selected to complete the survey do so in a timely manner. The responses will determine its success or failure. Please let us know how close APWA has come to living up to member expectations and how we might continue to do so in the future.