Should we require login for association registration discounts?

In most associations, members receive discounts versus non-members when registering for the association’s services, products and events.

Depending on the registration system you choose for your online event registration, you may be able to require that members enter a username/password or some sort of identification to receive the association member discount. The alternative is to rely upon an honor system and/or to have the association staff verify member status upon receipt of the registration.

It might seem obvious that requiring association members to log in is the correct choice. However, this notion can be countered by the fact that studies show shopping cart abandonment rates tend to increase when registration and/or login is required.

In reality, requiring some sort of association member login or identification is the right way to go. It makes for a more accurate registration, less staff work and fewer customer service/rework issues. It also allows the association to pre-populate the form with the member’s information, making for an easier registration experience. However, the key to success is to make the association member login/identification easy. There several ways to do so. Among the most important are the following:

– Get your association’s members used to logging in during less critical periods before the meeting registration begins. Most associations have member only areas – keep them active and enticing.

– Remind your association members of their username and password on a periodic basis.

– Make sure that your association’s members can retrieve their username/password or identification on their own, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Don’t require that members call the association headquarters during office hours or send an email and wait until you’re back in the office to look up their information and send it to them. Instead, create an automated system that can handle their “lost password” requests immediately and securely.

-If memberships in your association are company-based, allow logged in employees from a company to register other employees from that company without requiring a separate login. This can be particularly valuable if an administrative assistant is registering his boss or several employees – even if the administrative assistant won’t be attending himself.

Requiring association members to login before registering makes sense. Ultimately, it creates a more pleasant registration experience for association members. However, it’s important that you make it easy for the members to log in – otherwise you will negate the benefits of the login and give the association a negative customer service reputation.

Does your association require member login before registering? Has this caused any problem for your association’s members, or has it been successful?

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