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The Five Most Common Problems With Membership Management Systems

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If you are considering signing up for a membership management system, you have probably already come across discussions about the potential problems with membership management systems. 

Here at Member Jungle, we always strive to be open and honest with you. So today, we are going to talk about the five most common problems with membership management systems. We will help you understand the potential problems, how to avoid them, and how to fix them.  

The most common problems with membership management systems

  1. Time-consuming setup
  2. Limited or malfunctioning integrations
  3. Lack of training and customer support
  4. Too complex
  5. Making the website and management system work together

Problem 1: Time-consuming Setup of Membership Management Systems

Setting up a membership management system can be a time-consuming and labour-intensive endeavour. There's a new system to learn, member data to import, and a member portal and/or website to configure and customise. This can be especially bad if you are not particularly techy. 

Running your club or association can be a full-time job, and many people are hesitant to sign up for a process that may take up even more of their precious time. This makes sense; you probably started looking at management systems to save time, not give yourself another task.
 

Time-consuming Setup of Membership Management Systems

The Solution To A Time-consuming Setup Process?

Find a membership management system that can do it for you. Some membership management systems offer to set up your new system completely instead of you having to do it yourself. This often costs extra, but if you are busy and strapped for time, it can be a worthwhile expenditure. 

You need to supply your chosen company with all the required details, and then they will build your new system for you. Leaving you free to get on with your day-to-day work. 

Here at Member Jungle, we offer to set up your system for you. We call this the "Accelerator". As part of the Accelerator, we will have a brief 30-minute meeting with you to work out what you need. After the meeting, we'll provide you with a short list of information we need from you to set up your system. 

Once your system is ready, you'll receive a free private training session to prepare you to use it. The length of this process varies, but it usually takes two to three weeks, depending on how quickly you provide us with the necessary information. However, we've been able to set everything up in under one week when customers are prompt with their end.

How To Avoid A Time-consuming Setup Process?

To avoid spending too much time manually setting up your new system, consider signing up with a company that can set up your system for you. No matter whether a company is doing it for you or if you are doing it yourself, you should also do your best to read up on what information you will need to provide during this process. The quicker you get that together, the quicker and smoother this process will go.

If you want to see what Member Jungle's onboarding process requires, read: Everything You Need To Know About Onboarding At Member Jungle

Problem 2: Limited or Malfunctioning Integrations

One common problem is how their chosen management system works with integrations. There are two main types of membership management systems: All-In-One systems like Member Jungle and Bond Software and Integration systems like Join It. Both kinds of systems come with their own set of problems. 

Integration systems tend to be smaller, relying on various other paid and free services to operate as full membership management systems. 

The main problems tend to be: 

  • Maintaining multiple datasets over all the services
  • Multiple different interfaces and layouts
  • Bugs caused by services updating at different times
    • When using multiple services, when one updates, it can cause communication issues between your services. This is rare, but it is worth bearing in mind.
  • Paying for multiple services

All-In-One systems handle all membership management-related issues, usually replacing multiple services. They tend to have only a few services they can integrate with, usually online payment services. 

The main problems tend to be:

  • May not be as good at certain tasks as specialised services
    • An all-in-one email marketing service will usually not be as good as a specialist services email marketing 
  • Often require you to change over a lot of your current services at once  
  • More expensive than integration-style management systems

The Solution To Problems With Limited or Malfunctioning Integrations? 

The truth is that neither all-in-one systems nor integration-style systems are perfect. Anyone who claims that their all-in-one system or integration system is perfect or flawless is lying. 

Both styles of membership management systems are great; they both have undeniable positives and negatives. You should take your time, research both system styles, and work out which works best for your club's individual needs. 

If you are looking for a place to start, read the following: Join It vs Member Jungle: An Honest Comparison

Problem 3: Lack Of Training And Customer Support

One common problem people often have with their chosen membership management system is that once they have signed up and paid, they are dumped into a system with little training and poor customer support. It doesn't matter how simple or complex the system is; having inadequate training and little to no customer support is a surefire way to cause serious buyers' regret. 

I'm not the techiest person in the world. I'd be beyond annoyed if I spent a lot of money on something only to find out that I didn't know how it worked and struggled to get help from the people I'd bought it from. It wouldn't even matter if I was the techiest person to ever teach; if I paid for an online service and their how-to instructions and customer support were lacking, I'd be annoyed. 

The Solution To A Lack Of Training and Customer Support

The best way to deal with this situation is to avoid it in the first place, which we will talk about below. However, if you are already in this situation, here are a few things you can do to improve it. 

Firstly, and I know this one is obvious, but ask the membership management company for help. Ask them for more training or where to find help documents. Just keep asking them and raising issues until they give you the support and training you deserve.

Secondly, if asking them for help isn't working, threaten to leave. Nothing will get a lazy support team actually doing their job faster than potentially losing a customer. Honestly, though, if a company requires threats of leaving to actually help you, then they don't deserve your business. You are better off leaving and finding a different company that respects your time and money. 

I know signing up and onboarding with a membership management company can be a lot of effort sometimes. I'm sure you are in no rush to do it again. However, you will be better off in the long run with a company that respects you and your club.

How To Avoid A Lack Of Training and Customer Support

So let's talk about how to avoid this situation in the first place. Before signing up for a membership management system, you should do extensive research into that company and its practices. Most importantly, look at all their reviews, not just the ones on their website but the ones on Google, Facebook and sites like Capterra and Software Advice

I recently spent a lot of money on a new kayak. Before I did, I spent a lot of time researching, from checking the company's website and reviews to even scrolling through their Facebook and Instagram and reading the comments on their posts. I checked every avenue, official and unofficial, where people could comment on or rate this company before I gave them my hard-earned money. I strongly encourage you to do the same before signing up for any membership management system. 

In the interest of transparency, here are all the places I could find where people rated, reviewed or commented on Member Jungle. I encourage you to read through all of them and do the same for any other membership management system you are considering.

Read through these reviews, the comments on posts, see what people are saying about Member Jungle and see if you can find any other sites that have reviews. The internet is endless, and I am sure there are more reviews out there that I haven't found. Repeat this process for any and every membership management system you are considering. 

Problem 4: The System Is Too Complex

A common complaint is that people find the membership management system they chose too complex. They are struggling to work out how the system works, losing pieces of information and cannot work out how to perform specific tasks. This could be for one of two reasons. Either the system is too complex, or the company is not providing adequate support and training. 

I would guess that around 70% of complaints that the system is too complex are actually down to that person not having been given good enough training and support. We have already covered how to handle a company that isn't valuing your time and money by giving you poor training and support. So let's talk about the minority of cases where the system is simply too complicated.

 

The System Is Too Complex

The Solution To A System That Is Too Complex

Again the solution is to avoid an overly complex system in the first place. However, for the sake of argument, here are a few things you could do to fix the problem. 

Firstly do all the training that is available to you. Keep training, keep learning and keep using customer support. If that isn't helping, you could consider hiring an in-house tech person to help you manage your membership platform. However, if a membership management system is so complicated that it needs a dedicated tech person to run it on your end, then it's not a sound, user-friendly system. 

There are great, very user-friendly systems available, and you would be better off switching to one of those instead. Member Jungle and several of our competitors have great user-friendly systems that would serve you better than an overly complex one.

If you want to know about other membership management options that aren’t Member Jungle, have a look at: The Best Membership Management Software For Your Club

How To Avoid A System That Is Too Complex

Avoiding an overly complex system and choosing one that is user-friendly and easy to use is very important. The best way to do this is to try before you buy. 

Member Jungle and almost all of our competitors offer free trials. By signing up for a free trial, you can fully customise and explore a membership management system without any obligations or payments. This is an excellent way of testing how user-friendly and complex a system is before you sign up.

If you haven't already signed up for a free trial with the membership management service you are considering, I'd strongly recommend doing so. You can find the link to the Member Jungle free trial here, Access Your Free Member Jungle Trial. Otherwise, go to whichever other service you are considering and sign up for a free trial there. Use this trial to work out how easy to use the system is, and whether it can do everything you need it to do.

Problem 5: How Will The System Work With My Current Website?

One common concern people have is how their membership management system works with their current website. Will the system replace their website? Will it integrate with it? Or can it work with it? This will all depend on the management system you choose. So let's discuss the options and which is best for you.

Replacing your website

Some membership management systems will offer to completely replace your website with a new, professionally made one. The benefit of this is your website, and the membership system will look and, more importantly, operate exactly the same. This leads to a more user-friendly and seamless experience, and a refreshed website is never a bad thing. As it is often the first impression potential members will get of your club.

Some management systems that offer this are Wild Apricot, Bond and Member Jungle.

Integrating with your website 

Some membership management systems can be seamlessly integrated into your current website as a plugin, offering additional features and capabilities without significantly altering your existing website structure. This enables you to effortlessly incorporate a membership management system into your website, enhancing its functionality and user experience without major modifications. This can be a big benefit as you will not need to replace your existing website. 

Some management systems that offer this are Join It and Wild Apricot

Working with your website

Finally, some membership management systems work as a member portal that works with your website. This means you keep your current website, but when a member logs in or edits their personal details, they will seamlessly be transferred over to the management system. Then when they are done, they are taken back to the normal website. Usually, these portals are set up to look like your website to keep everything feeling and operating the same. This way, you can keep your website, get a membership management system and not have to worry about the problems that come along with integrations 

Some management systems that offer this are Membes and Member Jungle.

Are you curious about which option is best for you and whether you should keep your website or change to a new membership management system-provided one? Then have a read of this, Can Member Jungle Work With WordPress?

Let's Keep Solving & Avoiding Problems With Membership Management Systems

Well, those are the five most common problems people have with membership management systems. You should now know how to fix these problems and ideally avoid them in the first place. 

If you are still curious about the problems and solutions of membership management systems, why not read Top 3 Problems With Member Jungle.

Another thing you may want to find out is how often the service you are looking at updates and improves its system. If you want to know how often Member Jungle improves its membership management system read: Member Jungle Product Releases: What It Means For Your Club.

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