It’s been quite a while since I last wrote. I’ve been focusing on experience and engagement for the alternative stakeholder–members, consumers and customers. This work has cemented my trust in the research between the employee experience and engagement and stakeholder’s loyalty and retention. I find this relationship intuitive and energizing.

My experience is steeped in employee engagement. I have long drawn upon James L. Heskett et al’s Service Profit Chain, first introduced in 1994 in a Harvard Business Review article and later introduced as a book and additional research proving that customer loyalty is directly connected to employee engagement. At UnitedHealth Group. I directly participated in driving employee engagement over eleven years, realizing the associated customer/member metrics. But always from the employee perspective.

Through my work with the local chamber since 2019, I’ve flipped my lens, focusing on member involvement and retention. We’ve just completed their inaugural survey, establishing baseline metrics and enacting progressive plans. The data affirmed the relationship between member tenure, engagement and the Net Promotor Score (a metric used to evaluate experience with an entity at any moment in time that is considered an indicator of engagement). And just like employee engagement, the results affirmed intuition, including the relationship between engagement and NPS, and that the willingness to refer others consistently declines with membership duration (tenure). A follow-up survey with prior members who chose not to renew their membership further supported this. I find this fascinating. They’ll do another survey in approximately 18 months. In the interim, they’ll focus on actions designed to increase member perception and involvement, two trends identified in the survey.

A specific focus for the chamber is to increase local shopping — how to drive area residents to shop locally versus on-line and/or in other neighboring or larger cities. This is a common opportunity for most chambers, especially in small town USA. We are in the early stages of planning and defining baseline metrics including shopper and business NPS. I am so excited to launch and evaluate.

Stay tuned, and if YOU have experience in this vein, feel free to reach out to me. I am interested hearing your point of view.