By: Ricki Sexton
Working for my first association management company (AMC) has taught me numerous things in the last “almost” two years. Working for an AMC is vastly different from working for a stand-alone association, which is where my previous work experience generated. The key : One association, versus 21 associations. That means 21 Board of Directors, 21 different membership bases, in some cases, certification programs with different requirements, conferences for several of our clients and 21 different types of frequently asked questions.
Whew! Confused yet?
My role at Partners is to ensure that my team is knowledgeable on ALL of our associations and each client’s various needs. As the Member Services Department, we are your first point of contact when the client calls our office and the first people to handle all their needs. All of our clients are equally valuable to us, so all four of our team members must be equally knowledgeable, no matter what client line is ringing.
The details of everything are so important to ensure that everything runs smoothly. A misspelled last name entered into a database, can generate a misspelled name tag. This misspelled name tag then generates extra work in the conference registration office, as you’ll need to reprint name badges, and potentially entire registration packets. Keeping it clean at the beginning, means less work for everyone involved in all processes.
We have worked together as a team over the last year, to develop processes that have helped us improve our accuracy. All our team members have had input on what they feel would help them, what doesn’t work for them and other suggestions that we discuss in our weekly team meetings. I’d like to share a few key takeaways that have brought us up another level.
- Keep each other accountable. We have worked to develop cross training and implemented systems where each team member QC’s other team members. This has not only trained the team member checking the work to have a detailed eye, (improving their own accuracy) but trained the team member that did the work to really pay attention. Everyone wants their peers to think highly of them and their quality of work.
- We developed a checklist a few months back that each team member attaches to their work they turn in. It’s nothing fancy, and it only touches on a few areas that are easy to get distracted on. That second scan of their work has helped us immensely. Some days, our phones ring so often it’s very difficult to complete one task before moving on to another. This checklist ensures that our team does go back and verify accuracy.
- We’ve developed a schedule for each team member each day, with blocks of time set aside for specific tasks that are key to a smooth running department. This has ensured that all tasks are covered, in addition to helping each team member feel they have sufficient time to complete their tasks. We have tweaked these as we go along to try to maximize our effectiveness, and needs are always changing based on our workload. But having that beginning place where you know what you are working on at what time of the day is reassuring to the team members as well as me.
We are constantly looking for ways to improve our procedures and processes. This ensures being able to deliver a quality product to all of our clients, current and future.
What tips can you share that have worked to keep your team organized, effective and detail oriented?