A Lens Into the Vision of Our Members as “Customers”

The vast majority of my career has been in sales and marketing. Before consulting, my last position was “Manager of Customer Loyalty” for a Fortune 500 company. HTML was just a tool I learned along the way and the web was just one of many channels I used to reach, support and enhance the customer experience. This is the mentality I bring to the NH Bar Association – how does every interaction we have with our members enhance of diminish their NHBA experience?

My goal with the Working Through COVID-19: A Lawyer’s Resource List, was to make the NH Bar the go-to web resources for our members, making the Bar seem indispensable during this ever changing environment. Feedback has been positive, with other bar associations and organizations acknowledging the comprehensive collection of articles, links, and tools presented to our members in an organized, visually appealing way.

Working Through COVID a Vehicle to Loyalty

Customer loyalty is based on a variety of interconnected factors: Outstanding customer service, a strong value proposition, difficulty in switching, strong relationships with members, communication of an organizations values in transparency, turning members into evangelizers, and seeking feedback and continual improvement.

Outstanding Customer Service

It is my experience at the NHBA that everyone here understands this and does their utmost to execute exceptional customer service to our members every day.

The Working Though COVID resource is just one in a long list of examples of that customer service. The Bar is staying current and trying to anticipate member needs. These pages reflect work of all of our various departments: it’s synergistic – we all benefit and build off each other’s contributions.

Value Proposition

We live in a price point driven economy. Most consumers are looking for a bargain. Our members are no different.  Members must feel like they are receiving “more for their money” than they would normally expect. This is in fact made more challenging by the fact that many members believe all the money paid during renewal process stays at the NHBA. We all know that is not true, but members don’t, so “the bar is higher” in their minds.

The 10 pages that make up the Working Through COVID section of the nhbar.org website communicate a sense of empathy to our members. We see members and their firms, not just as sources of dues or CLE revenue but as individuals overcoming seismic shifts in the way they work every day. Reminding members of the variety of benefits they receive through their membership helps them to remember that their dues are not just to support “overhead” but bringing them valuable resources. A curated list of timely articles related to the practicalities of practicing law in these difficult times show them we are serving them beyond the expected.

Difficulty in Switching

Although the Bar Association membership is now mandatory, remember that many of our members are from out of state. While they may occasionally practice in NH courts, the majority of their practice is elsewhere. If we do a good job with the first two points, out of state members will be incentivized to renew their membership on time, even when times are hard, or if they are not actively practicing in NH.

The variety of “free with your membership” resources the NHBA offers are unusual for a bar our size. Once members use a resource and hopefully rely on it, we become invaluable. We are all creating a high threshold to “switch”, and those that live and practice daily in NH feel as though they could not practice without the resources of the bar.

Building Relationships with Members

Relationships are interactive by nature. We have a dedicated group of members who volunteer for committee work or write in the Bar News.  In these COVID days we have all had to become more creative to create and reinforce these relationships. Virtual events, web based CLEs, forums, and member benefits like TechConnect all build authentic interaction with our members.

We all know these relationships have been strained by the COVID-19 restrictions. But we can still create a space where members feel supported through this difficult time. Working Through COVID-19: A Lawyers Resource List, is meant to be just that space. A single place where they can go and  scheduled a telephone consultation for legal technology support (TechConnect), free legal research (Casemaker), articles about the change nature of practicing law in NH  (the Bar News), CLEs that help them adjust to the many aspects of their job that have gone virtual (NHBA CLE: Covid-19 CLEs) – we want this to become their go-to resource.

Communicate Organization’s Values in Transparency

Authenticity is a buzz word of our age. Members demand that organizations back-up what they say with action, and visible action. The Bar’s Mission states that we “serve the legal community by providing resources and tools that assist attorneys in their work and to grow their practices”. It is imperative that at this time of great upheaval attorneys see visible evidence of this support. The tools are easy to find and at their fingertips. Lawyer Referral Service not only reminds members that the NHBA is here to help them gain new clients, but helps make those connections happen. Attorneys are people too – the well-being section reminds our members that we care about them as people, not just a revenue stream.

Turn Our Members Into Evangelizers

Any organization’s best “sales” tactic is to create an atmosphere where customers are more than glad to sing the organization’s praises! The authenticity of genuine testimonials is priceless. Every day, various parts of the NHBA hear from satisfied members. It is imperative that we don’t tuck those away with a smile, but we get permission to share them out to the world.

These Working Through COVID pages are peppered with underutilized resources that are free to our membership. As more members become aware of these benefits and use them to solve problems they are facing today, the perceived value of their Bar membership increases. These satisfied members also become our evangelizers – sharing testimonials, writing editorials, and sharing with their peers their positive experience.  This web resource is not only praised in NH but has appeared in several national blogs and website for attorneys across the country.  This brings national exposure to our CLE programs that are featured on this page, and pride to us all.

Ask for Feedback and Continually Improve

Members need to feel heard and supported. When they do – we all succeed together.

This final point, asking for feedback and continually improving, is a task for all of us. I can gather resource that I think are valuable to our members, but I very rarely speak to one. Many of you support members personally every day. You are my eyes and ears. By familiarizing yourself with what has been built, you can point members to these resources. Equally importantly, you can give me feedback as to what is missing, out of date or just needs more content. Is there a category I have not thought about? Let me know. Together, we can keep these pages current, valuable, and build a stronger relationship with our members.  Together, we will build member loyalty.

~ Nancy Gross