Not long ago, many co-op directors and management groups would actually duck member input. Everybody breathed a sigh of relief if the final gavel fell at the annual members meeting without anyone rising to make a comment—especially a complaint. “No news is good news,” was the consensus. “We’re safe for another year.”
I ought to know. I’ve been employed as a member relations director for a local cooperative and I’ve worked in the field of co-op communications for over 40 years. But that’s not how it is anymore.
Co-ops are consolidating at a record pace. The healthy co-ops usually come out on top. These are the ones who regularly take an organizational check of their member-customers—and their employees. They ASK for comments, and they USE the information they get.
VistaComm is privileged to have several of these co-ops as clients.
The CEO of one client, a local agronomy and energy cooperative, regularly solicits customer input at the end of his newsletter article. “My door is always open,” he states.
This client not only maintains an open-door policy, but proactively solicits member input every 3-4 years. Their customer surveys ask telling questions like, “What do we do well?” and tough questions like, “What could we do better?” The co-op sticks its neck out by giving member-owners a voice and promising our “board and management will use the results of our member surveys to guide our decisions.” They’ve been asking for customer input to help direct the future course of the company for the past 12 years.
Not surprisingly, this medium-sized company has flourished among the giants, even in a tough ag economy, as it listened to its members’ advice to provide them exceptional service and innovation.
This company also regularly solicits input (also in the form of a survey) from its employees. Because VistaComm manages the survey assuring complete anonymity, this co-op has been able to get 100% of its employees to participate.
What about you? Could your organization use a health check?
VistaComm can help with:
- Teasers, news articles and cover letters promoting your surveys
- Design and administration of both print and electronic survey instruments
- Third-party follow-up to assure maximum participation
- Tabulation and cross correlation of results in an easy-to-use format
To find out how our services can help you gather the information you need to put your company “back in the pink” contact VistaComm today.