Building Great Member Engagement
We focus lots of attention and effort on engaging those we serve, including Tennessee Magazine, the annual meeting of members (scheduled next month); SharingChange, our grant program for community nonprofits; the Washington Youth Tour, scholarships and educational programs; expert assistance in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy; household and public electric safety; support of community and industrial development … the list is quite lengthy.
Most important, however, is the engagement among members and MTEMC employees at our offices, on the phone and through various online and social media venues. Thousands of transactions and contacts occur daily. Questions are asked, and programs and policies are explained. Folks sign up for service, get information about saving money, choose payment options and, yes, express concerns.
This interaction is the lifeblood of member engagement. For an electric cooperative, member satisfaction is Priority No. 1. Our group of employees — Team MTEMC — strives every day to do better than the day before. The goal is not to be just good but rather outstanding, even great, in providing service.
Author Jim Collins wrote books examining how companies transition from merely good to great. Oh, there’s nothing wrong with being “good,” but this doesn’t necessarily mean greatness is attainable. In fact, Collins found that good can be “the enemy of great,” meaning we can be lulled into a false sense of accomplishment by the status quo while the needs and preferences of those we serve evolve to the point they are no longer satisfied.
Building great engagement requires MTEMC to constantly search for and implement ways to improve member relations, programs, policies, operations, administration and communications. For this reason, we conduct surveys like the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), a measurement of what members think about our performance and whether we’re meeting their expectations. Although our ACSI scores are consistently high, we take seriously negative perceptions of our ability to meet the needs of members. Survey data can highlight areas where improvement is needed, so the survey questions aren’t written to make us look good. Criticism is medicine, and it motivates us to improve.
Our latest commitment to engagement involves week-long online conversations with members on a variety of topics. Their participation allows us to ask specific questions and listen to their ideas about how we can better serve them.
These aren’t the only ways we want to hear from you. You can attend the annual meeting, where much of the program is devoted to member engagement. Member support coordinators staff our community offices. They’re trained to “listen,” not just hear, when members speak.
Give us a call, drop us a note, send an email — but by all means, tell us what you think!