Executive Report-Jan/Feb 2011

Association members give association high marks in benchmarking survey

“Good, very good and excellent.”

We all like to hear those words, and that’s what came through loud and clear on the membership survey the Loyalty Research Center did for our association in late 2010.

That doesn’t mean we don’t have things we can improve, but in the 16 categories that used a five-point scale from “poor” to “excellent,” we scored 70 percent or higher among members who rated us “good, very good or excellent.”

I’m proud of these results, and the association and CMLS boards of directors are now weighing the findings.

You may ask — why were we doing a member survey during these tough economic times anyway? First of all, it was offered to us free of charge from a good organization. Second, the offer came with the whole-hearted endorsement of Steve Sullivan, my friend and counterpart in Indianapolis. He’s CEO of the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors®, which has used Loyalty Research for years.

“Probably the most productive tool that we use for our management and for our board of directors is a member survey that is aimed at determining how well we deliver services to our members,” Steve says of this annual survey.

Impressive response

Our members responded to the online survey Sept. 28 through Oct. 12. Some 222 participated, representing about three percent of our association membership. That participation level is adequate for the results to be considered scientific. Categories addressed ranged from value, price and member benefits to customer service, government affairs, networking opportunities, publications, the MLS and much more. For a list of categories and results, go to http://www.carolinarealtors.com/mediacenter/marketreportssur/surveys.aspx.

The survey also asked members to describe any significant problem they had experienced with the association over the previous six months. I was happy only 13 members had responses, especially since we were training on a new version of TEMPO™ near the time of the survey. Understandably with the few snags we hit, 10 of the 13 problems related to the system.

Several questions asked members what they pay in association dues and CMLS fees. Based on responses, we found our members aren’t clear about this. We need more education on that, as well as on networking opportunities provided by the association. Results showed that members aren’t always aware of the wide range of networking opportunities we offer.

Our overall positive showing dovetails with what our 2011 president, Laurie Knudsen, talks about in this month’s cover story — how tweaking is the order of the day in light of the economy, budget considerations and the state of the association. Had we received troubling survey results, we would be figuring out “next steps” and likely scrambling to find dollars to make them happen. I’m glad we can largely refine what we have and take heart we’re on the right path.

National comparison: Association fares well

As part of the membership survey done by Loyalty Research, the association could benchmark itself against Realtor® organizations around the country.

Based on “very good/excellent” results from 18 such groups nationwide, the association was close to the national average in most cases, sometimes a little higher, sometimes a little lower.

The only one category substantially lower was “Communications.” Yet, coupled with “good” responses, the results showed that 70.1 percent rated the association’s communications either “good, very good or excellent.” Regardless, the association is looking at options to boost this area.

In two categories — Professional Standards and Dispute Resolution (Mediation) — the association was substantially higher than the national average. In fact, more than half of respondents (52.9 percent) rated the association “excellent.”

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