The first half of the 2017 I spent travelling the country demoing EMMA to UFCW locals in Washington, Minnesota and Kentucky. While each local had their own set of unique challenges they were trying to solve, they all shared one common desire–to service their membership better. Let’s take a look at three ways that EMMA can help improve your local’s quality of servicing.
1. Get face time with each member once per month.
I’ve often heard reps talk about “doing their rounds” with members. When working with your larger companies, such Kroger’s, Meijer’s and Safeway, how can you ensure that everyone is getting adequate face time? Demonstrating the value of a local to your members is really difficult if the first impression they have with you is dues coming out of their paycheck.
In EMMA we have the a concept of a Last Contact Date. This is a field that gets updated with the current date whenever a rep has an interaction with a Contact in EMMA. This enables your reps to see when the last time a member was touched. The rep can use this information to identify who needs extra attention and who to prioritize on their next store visit.
2. Interact with members in their preferred method.
The demographics of retail is shifting such that more and more of the retail space is comprised of millennials and young workers. I often refer to these people as the “Netflix generation” because they’re used to interacting with seamless technology and getting things done quickly. Many locals have already adapted their communication strategy to more effectively reach this audience by implementing text message campaigns through tools such as Hustle.
EMMA can further help in this regard by setting up communication channels through digital notes and contacts as opposed to old school pen and paper. Some current locals who’ve been really successful have also made a concerted effort to get to know their members and make note of their personal interests in politics, technology and social issues.
3. Keep a running log of your conversations.
Since I first started working with EMMA I’ve been on a handful of ride-alongs with reps and am always impressed with the extent UFCW reps go to develop rapport with their members. Voice recorders, notepads, and binders of loose-leaf papers were just some of the ways reps struggled to capture the day-to-day conversations they were having. I remember sitting in running cars after each store visit while papers were organized and notes were hastily written down.
Working with EMMA makes developing a relationship with your base so much easier because of the ability to quickly log records of conversations with members and non-members alike. Not only can you pick up on a conversation that you last had with someone four weeks ago, but any other UFCW employees can be filled in in real-time and not miss a beat. Why lug everything around in a giant box in your trunk when everything fits on an ipad?
It’s not easy building personal relationships with a member base that can sometimes be as large as a small town. It’s even more difficult when these members are constantly coming and going. As the priorities of this member base shift to an increasing focus on technology, it’s important for each local to consider what good servicing practices look like and consider using technology to meet their members needs.