Our client is a professional association committed to representing those in the counselling and psychotherapy profession; representing over 30,000 members in the UK they are the leading professional body in this field.
What they needed
Following a strategic review of the association’s values and objectives in the profession, our client introduced a new public register of accredited counsellors to help regulate the field and protect the public. The register is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care and existing members of the association were required to join the register to maintain their membership.
Existing communications had been largely successful in getting the majority of members to take action, however they wanted to carry out additional engagement to reach the remaining ‘hardest to reach’ members to encourage them to take appropriate action since they were equivalent to 10 to 15% of their revenue. Dependent on their status, members were required to either prove they had the existing qualifications for the register, sign the terms and conditions and/or undertake an assessment.
As this was the last two months of a two year project, contacting this portion of customers were problematic in cases as they had up to now, been unreachable. Since some of the members had been practising for decades it was necessary to be extremely sensitive when explaining the need for the new register so as not to alienate them and to ensure they understood the situation. Some members had particular questions regarding the register and wanted to voice their reasons for not previously joining beforehand. The risk of these members not joining would mean a severe loss to a significant portion of their membership income, so the need to engage with them before the deadline was crucial.
What we did
We worked as an integrated part of our clients overall multi-channel communications programme. Our client sent emails and direct mailshots alongside our calling activity, and we worked with them to follow this activity up and provide an additional channel through which to reach their members.
By carrying out an in-depth workshop with our client and the calling team we were able to really get to grips with the issues and the wider context. This allowed us to engage with members on a wide range of issues.
This meant we were able to answer questions on the reasons for the introduction of the register, the format of the assessment, getting to the assessment, details on the terms and conditions, and any other queries regarding the process and joining the register. We were able to book individuals onto assessments, check if existing qualifications were sufficient and send out the terms and conditions by post or email.
Our client was receiving a high volumes of calls about the register, and our calling helped relieve pressure on our client’s customer service team who were over and above capacity and unable to handle any more incoming queries. We were therefore the first line of contact for many members and were responsible for actioning any steps in the member’s registration process. It was important that we didn’t increase the burden on the customer service team and so with thorough staff training and a consistent calling team on the campaign, we were able to handle any queries and ensure consistency and accuracy within our communications.
What we achieved
As a result of our work, two thirds of those which hadn’t respond to previous communications have now taken some form of action. Those taking positive action to join the register off the back of our work correspond to a total of £142,722 in annual membership fees.
As an added value benefit we were able to gather detailed feedback from members on their awareness of the register and the joining process and if they were choosing not to join, the reasons behind this. This enabled us to provide a number of actionable recommendations for refining the wider communications strategy to maximise member engagement. For example, there was only low awareness that entry on the register had to be renewed annually, and once we had identified this our client was able to address this knowledge gap directly – ensuring that long term membership revenues were not impacted.