Reducing Member Churn With AI and Machine Learning

Membership churn is a problem.

Did you know it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one?

To put in perspective: returning customers are more likely to spend roughly 67% more on the company’s products or services and with just a 5% increase in customer retention, it could generate a 25% increase in profit. With this increase in profit, it would mean that you would have to spend a lot less on the costs of acquiring new customers and in any organisation, the less you have to spend and the more profit you can obtain, the better!

Member churn is defined by whether a customer or a member unsubscribes or no longer purchases from, your organisation. There’s also the case of people who become ‘dormant’ that contribute to churn – dormancy, in this case, referring to people who remain signed up to your services but do not interact with your organisation or attend any events or open any emails from you. They haven’t succumbed to attrition, but they don’t generate any revenue either.

You want the member churn percentage to be as close to zero as possible.

The churn is not completely unavoidable; some people may have only wanted to make a one-time purchase, or they may have gotten the relevant qualifications they wanted to gain from your organisation and that was that.

There is a way you can predict if a member is at risk of churn… with AI and machine learning.

 

But Our CRM System Already Collects Data?

If you threw a bunch of Membership organisation CEOs into a room, what do you think they’d discuss?

 

Well, probably lots of things, but no doubt the topic of member churn will come up and the whole room will lament the fact that they have all these members but they’re just lying dormant, or they have people leaving after a month and they’re generally just struggling to retain those members.

Worst of all, they’re spending lots of money trying to gain new members.

 

How Does Machine Learning Work, Exactly?

A predictive churn model is a classification tool looks at past activity and uses that to identify the steps or stages when a member is falling away.

By adding this level of predictive analytics you’re better armed with the knowledge of the behaviours of your members and the moment they begin to lose sight of the value of your organisation – and what you can do to win them back around.

 

What kind of data does the Predictive Churn Model look at?

The data collated for analysis are:

  • Customer profile
  • Post code
  • Average income
  • Occupation
  • How did they hear about your organisation?
  • Do they interact with outreach (ie newsletters, emails, links on the website)?
  • Products they interact with
  • Purchase history
  • Date of last purchase
  • Have they asked questions? Were they answered?
  • Complaints
  • Complaint resolutions
  • Where do they complain – email, phone, or Twitter?

 

This is a small snapshot of the breadth of information you can get to find out which event leads to them unsubscribing. Relevancy ensures accuracy and with machine learning, you can input and sort more data than is humanly possible.

But firstly, that analysis will only be as good as the data it’s given so the data needs to be categorised into three criteria:

Complete – Are all the dimensions (labels) filled out? Are there bits of data with missing values? If that’s the case, you will have to do some data exploration and fill in some of the missing values. For example, if there’re any values of ‘County’ missing you can fill in the value by checking the address.

Clean – Are there multiple values for the same dimension? For example, ‘Derbyshire/Derbys/Derbs’. If that’s the case, then you must cleanse the data to ensure uniformity.

Accurate – And, overall, is the data correct? Are the values are all in the right place, nothing answered ‘N/A’, negative revenue values for some transactions?

There’s one more step in predictive+diagnostic analytics that you need to do to prepare your data, and that’s creating the ‘target variable’. For churn analysis it can be something as binary as ‘Will churn?’ and you can fill in the values for this variable by analysing that all-important historical data. For example, you’d have a value of 1/TRUE for members who cancelled their subscription and 0/FALSE for those who renewed.

 

Machine Learning And The Future Of Membership Organisations

After you’ve exhausted all the information you can gather, and you’re going bonkers for data and segmentation and classification, you will see those trends.

And if you haven’t spotted at least three highly correlated attributes, then you simply haven’t asked the right questions.

It’s incredible stuff to be able to have all this customer data consolidated into one place and unlock all these trends that have been leading to all that churn!

From this model you can make smarter business decisions that have been wholly formed from behaviour analysis, giving you the confidence to ensure business growth and resilience.

 

I Need To Know More About Predictive Analysis

Machine learning launches organisations just that bit further. If you’re interested in making better informed, high-quality and risk-assessed decisions for your organisation then it’s time to contact the experts…

That’s us, by the way, so drop us an email!

 

 

 

 

21 Microsoft Employees In 2022 You Need To Follow… Now!

Microsoft is one of, if not the, leading tech companies in our world.

They’ve been at the forefront of discovery and a driver of innovation and cultural change since their earliest days. They’re leaders in the Cloud Computing sphere, with the Power Platform and Dynamics, they revolutionised both work and home computing and that’s before we even get into the specifics of the humanitarian work and the Tech for Social Impact teams.

 

The point is, Microsoft is big. Large. Huge. And that means it can sometimes be hard to keep up with those who know everything there is to know about Microsoft.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of the top Microsoft employees you should be following to keep up to date with all the latest announcements, updates and user tips!**

 

**This list is in no particular order and is in no way comprehensive! Drop us a line if you think we’ve missed someone and we’ll add them on.

 

Tina Jones – Sr. Audience Evangelism Manager at Microsoft

Tina’s LinkedIn

Tina Jones is the Senior Audience Evangelism Manager at Microsoft and works globally with student developers. She has a passion for education and supporting the skilling and employability of students, so she is someone to follow if you’re looking for advice!

 

Nicola Hodson – VP Global Sales & Marketing, Transformation at Microsoft

Nicola’s LinkedIn

Nicola Hodson loves driving results, making customers successful, spanning strategy and execution and building teams that drive growth. She has worked across commercial and consumer and all industry sectors including public sector.

Nicola posts insightful articles into the would of business transformation and latest Microsoft technology.

 

Michael Wignall – Azure Business Lead at Microsoft UK

Michael’s LinkedIn

Michael Wignall describes himself as an engineer, techy, consultant, and salesperson – empowering people and organisations to achieve more. If you’re interested in learning more about how the Cloud is making its mark across all sectors then definitely give him a follow.

 

 

Sam Bramwell – Solutions Director, Business Applications at Microsoft

Sam’s LinkedIn

There are three things that Sam Bramwell cares deeply about; her family, diversity and inclusion, and the positive impact tech can have on lives. A valuable resource if you’re conscious of how you can advocate for diversity and inclusivity!

 

Richard Ellis – General Manager: Microsoft’s Small, Medium & Corporate Customer Segment

Rich’s LinkedIn

Richard Ellis thrives on the energy he gets from talking with customers and partners, engaging with business leaders who are using Microsoft products and services to transform their businesses and with Microsoft Partners who are helping others do the same. He’s regularly speaking at digital events so be sure not to miss the next one…

 

David Howe – General Manager, Microsoft

David’s LinkedIn

David specialises in IT Strategy, organisational leadership, consulting service management, marketing, enterprise architecture, cloud computing, business development, branding and identity, product marketing, business strategy.

People development is central to David’s approach, ensuring people have an environment where they can do their best work and grow their careers. His posts centre mainly around tech companies such as Microsoft are leading the way for sustainability.

 

Orla McGrath – Global Partner Solutions Lead at Microsoft

Orla’s LinkedIn

Orla McGrath responsible for managing and developing Microsoft’s extensive partner network. Her LinkedIn is full of event reminders and updates from Microsoft so don’t stay out of the loop!

She’s worked with a broad range of clients to ready their businesses for the digital age and helped them transform their customer experience leveraging the latest cloud technologies and platforms to drive business growth.

 

Max Tchapeyou – UK Industry Solutions General Manager at Microsoft

Max’s LinkedIn

Max Tchapeyou is relentless in building organisational capabilities, leveraging cross-collaboration and maximising business impact at scale. He nurtures people’s talents and diversity, coach, grow, empower teams, managers and leaders to fulfil their potential and together we deliver unprecedented results. His people-first mindset shines in his content, talking all about leadership, diversity and social justice.

 

Hugh Milward – General Manager, Corporate, External, Legal at Microsoft

Hugh’s LinkedIn

Hugh Milward is a senior business figure with international experience, and current role is to lead Microsoft’s Corporate, External and Legal Affairs (CELA) team for Microsoft UK. If you follow Hugh you’ll be treated to a wide range of content relevant to ethics withing the tech industry.

 

Claire Logan – Human Resources Director at Microsoft

Claire’s LinkedIn

Claire Logan is a trusted person, who is able to provide straightforward advice and build long term relationships with clients who she can support to be successful. She really enjoys building diverse teams where all colleagues can authentically bring themselves to work and thrive – and her inspiration posts will speak for themselves!

 

Derrick McCourt –  General Manager of Microsoft UK’s Customer Success Unit

Derrick’s LinkedIn

Derrick McCourt’s drive is to empower people of all ages, skills and abilities in a technology-driven world, and is showing how technology can lead to sustainability.

 

Chris Perkins – General Manager, Public Sector, Microsoft UK

Chris’s LinkedIn

Chris Perkins’ focus lies in bringing a greater diversity of skills into the workforce. Follow him for event updates with important figures within Microsoft and tech!

 

Clare Barclay – Chief Executive Officer, CVP, Microsoft UK

Clare’s LinkedIn

Since October 1st 2020, Clare Barclay has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft UK where she is responsible for all of Microsoft’s product and service offerings in the UK for their commercial customers and partners. What else is there to say – who better to keep up to date with?

 

Soraya Scott – Chief Operating Officer, UK at Microsoft

Soraya’s LinkedIn

Soraya Scott has extensive experience in building strong, high performing and multi-disciplined teams across a number of business lines – including Consulting and Support.

Her specialities are: Customer relationships, People Management, Sales Management, Team Transformations

 

Douglas Dawson –  GM, Global Communications at Microsoft

Douglas’s LinkedIn

Douglas Dawson is an energetic communications professional with more than 25 years of experience and a proven track record for developing internationally focused consumer and corporate communications campaigns. A well-rounded executive who mixes traditional communications strategies with social media programs to reach consumers, industry stakeholders and investors.

 

Ralf Groene – CVP Design Windows and Devices at Microsoft

Ralf’s LinkedIn

If you’re geeky for all things hardware then Ralf Groene should be on your follow list. He leads Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Design Team. The team is responsible for designing Microsoft’s hardware products including Surface, Xbox and HoloLens and their Windows & Android OS experiences.

 

Yash Misra – Principal Design Manager at Microsoft

Yash’s LinkedIn

Yash Misra is a principal design manager at Microsoft, currently leading Signature Experiences Design team for Windows 11, so expect a lot of Windows 11 content!

 

Brandon LeBlanc – Senior Program Manager at Microsoft

Brandon’s LinkedIn

Brandon LeBlanc is responsible for making sure Windows Insiders have all the necessary information about participating in the program and installing the new OS builds released to them; as you can imagine, he knows a lot about Windows 11.

 

Jacky Wright – Chief Digital Officer (CDO) at Microsoft US

Jacky’s LinkedIn

Jacky Wright is a global technology leader who has made broad impact in business transformation and on social issues. She inspires and leads teams to help businesses leverage technology to drive innovation, adopt sustainable and accessible business models, and digitally transform.

 

Christopher Young – Executive Vice President Business Development, Strategy and Ventures at Microsoft

Christopher’s LinkedIn

Christopher Young’s role as executive vice president of business development, strategy and ventures at Microsoft means he is responsible for growth across the company by establishing strategic partnerships, setting corporate strategy and identifying high impact investments through Microsoft’s corporate venture arm.

 

And of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without…

 

Satya Nadella – Chairman and CEO at Microsoft

Satya’s LinkedIn

Satya Nadella is on a self-described mission to ‘empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.’ His pages are chock full of all the awesome things Microsoft is doing to achieve that goal.

 

 

 

What Happens Once the Small Charities Coalition Closes Its Doors For Good?

A breakdown of what the closure of the membership body means for the more than 16,000 organisations it serves, and what the sector needs to consider following its impact.

Small Charities Coalition announced in December that lack of funds has meant it will close in spring.

 

[We have] exhausted all possibilities to secure funding that would have put the charity on a secure, sustainable financial footing

Statement made by Small Charities Coalition

 

The umbrella body was founded in 2008 by Directory of Social Change chief executive Debra Allcock Tyler.

 

There was nowhere for small charities to go, no one place that was just for them – up until that point, I think all of us genuinely cared about small charities and most organisations offered services for them, but it wasn’t dedicated

Debra Allcock Tyler, Chief Executive at Directory of Social Change

 

The SCC was small but mighty, much like the many charities it spent the last 14 years representing, and it will close with just three members of staff and more than 16,000 members on its books.

The work that the SCC has done, the support it has provided and the representation it has given, will leave a lasting imprint on the charity sector as a whole.

 

I think the SCC can certainly leave with its heads held high. It’s done two things: provided a service, particularly for smaller, volunteer-led charities, but more generally it has shone a spotlight on small charities.

A few years ago, the bigger infrastructure bodies didn’t really know what a small charity was and didn’t really have much interest in them, whereas now the infrastructure bodies all have much better understanding and are making sure they’re speaking up for them rather than defaulting to talking about large charities.

Duncan Shrubsole, Director of Policy, Communications and Research at the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales

 

Small charities are on the agenda in a way they weren’t before and I don’t think you can undo that

Debra Allcock Tyler, Chief Executive at Directory of Social Change

 

She also goes on to say that a dedicated voice to amplify the message of small charities to the government and sector is necessary, and the SCC will be sorely missed.

Despite being an avenue for small charities to get funding where it cannot get it elsewhere, the SCC was no exception to financial pressures.

In order to serve some of the most hard-pressed organisations in the sector, the SCC kept its membership free of charge, as Shrubsole points out – membership fees are one of the key sources of funding that umbrella bodies can use in order to gain financial stability.

 

Trustees have taken the responsible decision when they look at the financial situation going forward, and should be praised for their foresight. It means that they can do an orderly wind-up, which is always to the good, rather than things coming to a head and then having to suddenly shut the doors, which has happened in the charity sector in the past.

Duncan Shrubsole, Director of Policy, Communications and Research at the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales

 

So, what happens now? Once the SCC closes its doors, what will happen with the void it leaves behind?

The SCC, and other infrastructure bodies like the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, LBFEW, the DSC and others have been ruminating the very same question.

 

The organisation is starting work on a comprehensive evaluation and learning process.

In time we look forward to sharing what we’ve learned about supporting small charities since 2008 and working with other infrastructure groups, funders and civil society to support them to embed this learning and secure a thriving future for small charities for decades to come

SCC Spokesman

 

The vital work that the SCC did was practical support through its helpline, on hand when charities needed them most – starting out, expanding or closing down.

 

Practically, it was a really important set of activities, support and resources they were building and were custodian of,” she says. “That work will need to be picked up elsewhere.

We’re thinking about how we can understand more who the SCC have been working with, and think about how we step into that space, what capacity and resources will be needed to do that.

There are many that will fall to Navca members because they’re the obvious point of call. But for some it will be the national bodies who can also step in and pick some of that up.

Maddy Desforges, Chief Executive of Navca

 

Following SCC’s closure, Shrubsole poses the question about why smaller organisations were looking to SCC for support.

 

Some of this is about content of help and some of it is about tone and culture

Some people from small charities are ringing SCC because they feel ‘They understand us – the clue’s in the name’, but is the help they are getting similar to what they could get from somewhere else?

It could be that some of the bigger organisations need to think about how to tailor their existing services to small charities, or simply make more of an effort to promote themselves to that market, so smaller organisations are more aware of them as a source of support

Duncan Shrubsole, Director of Policy, Communications and Research at the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales

 

Regulatory organisations such as the Charity Commission may have a role in picking up some of the pieces that will be left behind.

 

So if people who are doing accounts are being told to call the SCC even though it’s the Charity Commission’s own rules and guidance that they need help with, there’s certainly something that needs pursuing about what the commission’s role and responsibility is,” Shrubsole says – although he adds that it’s not yet clear how prevalent this issue is.

It will be a few more weeks before the complete picture emerges and it becomes clear whether there are any gaps that cannot be filled

Duncan Shrubsole, Director of Policy, Communications and Research at the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales

 

And, while the coronavirus may have forced the decision to close due to surmounting the financial pressures, like a double-edged sword it may have also created the best possible outcome for its closure.

The network between infrastructure bodies have been opened and strengthened to an unprecedented degree, and both Desforges and Shrubsole state that important conversations about the legacy of SCC have happened far more quickly and easily than they would have done pre-Covid.

But, as Shrubsole says, finding funding for infrastructure bodies is no easy feat and as such, those involved are nervous about taking on SCC’s full workload, on limited resources, without giving it a proper think.

 

There’s always pushback about how many infrastructure bodies we really need, but I think there is also a strength in the specialisms of those we have – they were set up for a reason, they have specific purposes and meet specific needs

We all need to step back and recognise the value of infrastructure support. It is the catalyst that allows other organisations to have their impact. If we lose these bodies, the impact won’t be immediate, it won’t be this month or the month after, but it will be incremental and it will be significant.

Maddy Desforges, Chief Executive of Navca

 

She also goes on to say that this coming financial year is key for the NonProfit sector as it needs to come up with a longer-term plan for recovery from the pandemic, which has been brutalising charity organisations for almost two years.

 

For infrastructure bodies, particularly, we need to think about what’s our plan, what’s our strategy – not as individuals, but as a sector

It’s about the [part] an organisation plays in society – you can’t call on civil society in a pandemic if it’s not there in the first place, so [you] can’t just fund it in a pandemic, you have to do it long term

Maddy Desforges, Chief Executive of Navca

IBM Cloud Suffers Global Scale “Provisioning Issues” One Week Into 2022

IBM Cloud’s services went down in the early hours – bad omen or bad luck?

IBM Cloud’s start to 2022 wasn’t all Prosecco and ‘Auld Lang Syne’ – a prolonged duration of “provisioning issues” hit IBM Cloud on a global scale in the wee hours of Thursday 6th of January 2022.

The company’s status page shows that the troubles began at 0546 UTC and continued throughout the morning, until the issues were marked as resolved at 1212 UTC.

Users may experience issues with provisioning and other resource management actions in IBM Cloud services.

IBM Cloud

Affected locations were Washington DC, Osaka, São Paulo, London, Dallas, Seoul, Sydney, Chennai, Toronto, Tokyo, and Frankfurt.

Big Blue’s “provisioning issues” followed after two days of other IBM issues, with the Load Balancer component for the Virtual Private Cloud and the Virtual Private Cloud itself, which spent an hour of the 4th of January 2022 in a state of difficulty. Dallas’ infrastructure had some woes of its own on the 3rd of January 2022 with multiple SAN virtual servers going read-only as well as the Code Engine and Block Storage for the Virtual Private Cloud struggling.

IBM Cloud’s Twitter profile states it is “Hybrid. Open. Resilient,” so the struggling servers is not a great look for a company trying to compete with industry giants.

Although, IBM Cloud is not the only cloud service provider to have run into issues – Amazon Web Services has struggled in recent months.

Japan and Europe’s New Submarine Cable Planned to Take Traffic by 2025

Network latency between Europe and Asia will hopefully be a thing of the past

European traders seeking Asia in the 15th century faced numerous obstacles: first of all, the journey took years by land or sea, and there were lethal perils. So, the dream of the “Northwest Passage” – a route that goes across the Atlantic, then over the top of North America, before trailing down to Japan.

Unfortunately, it remained a dream as the Northwest Passage saw ice, ice in Canada, and… ice. Navigating the passage was impossible for hundreds of years, and the route was not commercially viable due to, well, all the perilous ice.

The problems of the long, in some places impossible to navigate journey from Europe to Asia have followed Europeans into the 21st century, in the form of an uncomfortably long network latency between northern Europe and Asia.

And in the spirit of 1920 intrepid explorers, Finnish company Cinia and US telco infrastructure company Far North Digital have united to build a submarine cable named the Far North Fiber which will traverse the route.

At one of the cable, there’ll be Japan. It’ll go on to touch Alaska and the Canadian Arctic before ending in Norway, Finland and Ireland. The route is as follows:

 

Pan-Arctic Fibre Cable Route

One of the factors for the latency is the fact there is complexity within the existing cables. Europe and Asia are already connected via the FLAG and SEA-ME-WE3 cables, which pass through the Suez Canal and other finicky areas which are vulnerable to sabotage if someone were to be determined enough (and, you know, there are lots of determined people out there.) The other routes require cross-connection and thus, we’ve ended up with a complicated connection which has slowed down the network significantly.

Far North Fiber will solve that problem by being a shorter trip and an alternative route – kind of like a slip road.

We can see (thanks to submarinecablemap.com) that while cables are already operating in Arctic climes, some further north than this one would need to pass, they are rare. It is therefore super exciting to see this feat of engineering, should the memorandum of understanding signed by Cinia and Far North Digital come to fruition.

There plan would see the cable taking network traffic from as soon as 2025, which is achieved, would beat Russia’s Polar Express cable to market by a year. However, the Polar Express will only land in Russia after using northern waters to travel from Asia to Europe.

It is worth noting that the sea ice that once plagued the Northern Passage has dwindled over the years, opening up the route to more frequent shipping routes. Cinia and Far North Digital hope that the conditions will make their construction efforts easier.

How Engagement Technology Is Transforming The Membership Sector

It’s well-known within the membership sector that to retain members you need to engage with them. It becomes quickly apparent around renewal time who’s engaged and who wasn’t, as you can track who sees worthwhile value in continuing their membership and who doesn’t.

These days a member must feel like they’ve received a personalised experience, and in turn, they need to feel engaged in order to be retained. If they can personalise their time on the website and the events they sign up for, your membership organisation becomes more like a tool for them. A tool for professional and personal development, and as a way to network with other people in the industry.

An agile and responsive organisation takes onboard trends with its demographics and develops new ways to connect with them based on those findings in a timely fashion.

An awesome CRM system will allow organisations to hear from both parties in the exchange – the end-user has their needs tailored to, which allows them to use the organisation for specific purposes. As the website is used and interacted with, it delivers valuable member insights that the organisation can use to adapt the way it reaches out to members. When you can track all these member touchpoints you will have mastered the art of membership engagement – and engagement leads to retention.

Why Does Engagement Matter?

It’s a common pain point throughout the membership sector that you need to engage with them. But what is it, and why is it so important?

It’s the degree to which members interact (engage) with the organisation.

It can be measured in a simple three-tier spectrum:

 

  • Low engagementMembers who rank low on engagement may not attend any events; they possibly don’t even open the emails sent to them. They probably signed up and didn’t find what they were looking for, or their needs have changed, and they need a new message in their outreach.
  • Medium engagementThese members will open emails, sign up to events and/or complete education modules. They make use of membership benefits and the resources and tools that follow that.
  • High engagement – The ultimate level of engagement; these members will play an active part in the organisation by being passionate advocates for your organisation and recruiting new members; these loyalists have got the most value from the experience and they want to sing the praises about the benefits of your organisation.

 

The ways that your members can engage with your organisation may vary from the ways it functions compared to other organisations, but one fact remains glaringly obvious, like a bright red neon sign:

 

Retention is directly related to engagement.

 

The biggest factor that plays into non-renewals is a lack of engagement, as they won’t have seen the benefits your organisation offers. Organisations can’t afford to lose members to this kind of attrition, so what can be done to resolve this issue?

A great CRM system, such as Dynamics, allows you to invest in the best possible engagement technology and ensure retention throughout your membership base.

What the CRM system does is lay out your members into demographics and segments in a unified customer view.

The demographics are the historical data of your members – age, gender, location etc, and the segments are a more in-depth look at how best to target your members – their job roles, their education, their interests; the things that help make up a member persona with the data.

You want your CRM system to engage, and importantly, segment your audience out so you can see what demographics are interacting and where their touchpoints are. And then the more you’re engaged with, the more data your CRM system can analyse and sort!

With it, you can get into the super nitty-gritty stuff: website activity, event attendance, and education or career paths. You have the ability to develop insight into why this person has signed up to your organisation.

The biggest thing to remember is that your members are constantly improving themselves and after a year of utilising your organisation their needs will have evolved. So, it’s all well and good having a CRM system that can monitor all this and give you bar graphs and data sets, but people lie at the heart of it and an organisation needs to adapt to this in order to retain memberships.

This is how your engagement technology feeds into the retention and overall experience of your members. With the aid of self-serving portals, content that allows them to engage with it, being able to complete continuous personal development, booking events online, preference management, and the value they’re getting from membership.

Engagement is, on the bottom line, one of the biggest factors in keeping an organisation agile and adaptable.

If you’d like to read more solutions for common problems in the membership sector, sign up to our mailing list below to be kept up to date with the industry technology.