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Retention starts the first year – HQ grabs the initiative

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What’s the most frustrating part of membership management? Retention! It’s great to sign up new members, and heartbreaking to see them drop away after their first year.

Seldom do new members drop out because barbershop stopped feeling great to sing.

Sometimes it’s because a recruit bought a pig in a poke–the chapter life that seemed so bright on guest night turned out to be drudgery week in and week out. (Shame on the chapter leadership.)

Sometimes it’s because job changes and family pressures squeezed out the time. (Shame on life.)

Sometimes it’s because no one asked him to to renew. (Shame on everyone.)

The Customer Service Center at HQ takes membership retention seriously. We want to boost renewals for first year members from 34% on-time/59% in first year to over 50% on- time and 70% overall.

To that end, the entire Society staff is taking part in a phone-a-thon this week, in which we are calling a group of new members with pending dues renewals, to make them aware that their invoices are in the mail (or email,) and asking them to continue membership in the Society.

We’ve gotten quite an earful. Some have been surprised and delighted that someone took the time to call. Some have had the opposite reaction: “How can you afford to spend time on this?” Some members have had a great experience and renewed on the spot. Some are disillusioned, but are considering moving to a different chapter and continuing.

It’s worth trying nationally. It’s definitely worth trying in your own chapter.

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