Building and Sustaining Memberships Through Excellent CX

This week we welcome Jennifer Blevins to the Digitally Irresistible podcast. Jennifer is the senior vice president of member engagement and relationship management at Wespay, a payments association that guides its members with insights on best practices, business solutions, strategy, compliance, and other critical payments factors. With over two decades of experience in treasury management, sales, product development, and more, Jennifer shares her journey and insights into the transformative power of treating membership-as-a-service with a commitment to excellence. 

Prior to joining Wespay, Jennifer was a member for more than eight years, actively participating in the member advisory council and utilizing Wespay’s resources to enhance her expertise in treasury management. This firsthand experience as a member equipped her with a deep understanding of member needs, which now translates into her work at Wespay, where she champions member engagement and delivers exceptional experiences. 

Tune in as we discuss how listening to members, leveraging their feedback, and maintaining a commitment to continuous improvement are crucial to creating a service that meets and exceeds expectations to building a thriving membership service. 

Membership-as-a-Service Is All About the Experience

Jennifer joined Wespay after working for Umpqua Bank as a regional sales manager. She credits her strong background and experience in treasury management and product marketing at smaller financial institutions for paving the way to her current role at Wespay, whose membership-as-a-service is its product. This also enabled a smooth transition into her new role.  

Jennifer says Wespay stands out from other payments associations because it provides comprehensive support to its members, including banks and credit unions, for education, audits, and risk assessments. She explains that in membership-as-a-service, the membership itself is the product. Unlike traditional product sales, where the relationship transitions from a transaction to customer service, membership-as-a-service begins and continues as a service relationship in perpetuity.  

This is achieved by providing members the ongoing resources, support, and experiences that empower them to achieve their goals.

Immediate Support Creates Exceptional Customer Experiences

In the pursuit of delivering unparalleled customer experiences, Wespay has innovated a unique touchpoint for its members: the payments hotline. A source of pride for the organization, this service epitomizes Wespay’s dedication to offering timely and expert support, ensuring that members have access to the assistance they need when they need it.  

The payments hotline is designed with intentionality at its core, serving as a direct line for members to engage with Wespay’s team of subject matter experts. Whether the inquiry involves automated clearing house (ACH), check processing, risk management, faster payments, or fraud prevention, the hotline ensures that members can obtain insights and resolutions without delay.  

Wespay’s team members are deeply versed in the nuances of payment systems and the myriad challenges that financial institutions may encounter. This expertise ensures that the guidance provided is also tailored to address the specific needs and contexts of each member. By offering a mix of traditional and digital communication channels—phone calls, emails, and chat—Wespay caters to the diverse preferences of its members, ensuring ease of access to its support services.

Wespay’s Commitment to Empowerment Through Education

At the heart of Wespay’s mission is a commitment to education, a cornerstone that Jennifer, with her extensive experience both as a member and a leader within the organization, holds in high regard. Her experiences and reflections highlight the benefits of this focus on education, illustrating how Wespay’s commitment to learning contributes to the personal and professional success of its members. As a member, she was grateful for Wespay’s educational resources, which helped her earn certifications when she wanted to become an ACH check professional.  

The education committee at Wespay is one of several platforms through which the organization engages its members in ongoing education and development. Whether through classes, webinars, or symposiums, the quality and substance of these educational sessions stand out. This committee, alongside others such as the member advisory council, the rules committee, and a symposium workforce committee, plays a critical role in driving the educational agenda for its members. 

These groups thrive on the influx of fresh perspectives and the active participation of members who are keen to contribute and learn. This dynamic interplay of teaching and learning reflects Wespay’s deep understanding of the needs of its community and a commitment to meeting those needs through comprehensive, high-quality educational content.    

Through these educational endeavors, Wespay reinforces its position as a leader in the payments association space and exemplifies how education can be a powerful tool for innovation and growth. The organization’s emphasis on education is about building on a longstanding foundation of trust, enhancing member engagement, and, most importantly, empowering individuals and institutions to achieve their professional goals.

The Importance of Listening and Responding to Member Feedback

A critical element of building a successful membership-as-a-service program is actively listening to member feedback. Members are a goldmine of information, offering valuable insights into what’s working well and what areas need improvement. As Jennifer mentions, neglecting member feedback is a missed opportunity.  

Wespay demonstrates its commitment to member feedback through several practices: 

  • Biannual surveys. These surveys provide members with a platform to share their experiences and suggest improvements. Asking questions such as “What are we doing that you like?” and “What could we be doing better?” allows members to share their ideas so that Wespay can consider adding any missing pieces to their CX strategy. 
  • Open communication channels. Wespay encourages open communication with its members. Whether through phone calls, emails, or in-person interactions, members feel comfortable voicing their opinions. Jennifer affirms the importance of letting members express themselves without interruption so employees can gain insight into the issue and devise ideas on how to fix it. 
  • Actionable feedback. Wespay doesn’t just collect feedback—they act on it. They prioritize suggestions and implement changes that enhance the member experience. When changes are made, Wespay communicates these updates, demonstrating to members that their voices are heard and valued

Jennifer expresses a fundamental aspect of managing a membership organization: treating membership as an ongoing service that requires constant nurturing, enhancement, and adaptation. This approach focuses on perpetual improvement to meet and exceed member expectations. Jennifer stresses the necessity of this mindset, emphasizing the importance of actively soliciting and thoughtfully considering member feedback as a cornerstone of this process.

Engaging Members for Fresh Perspectives

Wespay’s commitment to fostering a dynamic and evolving member experience is vividly illustrated through its approach to managing various committees and councils, including the member advisory council, rules committee, education committee, and a symposium workforce committee. Jennifer emphasizes the importance of infusing these councils with new members over time to prevent stagnation and ensure that the organization benefits from fresh perspectives and innovative ideas

The infusion of new voices into these committees is more than avoiding a static state—it is fundamentally about enhancing the quality and relevance of the initiatives undertaken by Wespay. Jennifer recounts her experiences on the member advisory council, noting how different interpretations and viewpoints on previously discussed ideas can suddenly make them resonate more powerfully with the membership at large. This phenomenon underscores the value of diversity in thought and experience within advisory groups, as it can lead to more impactful and resonant outcomes for the organization and its members. 

Moreover, the eagerness of members to join and contribute to these councils speaks volumes about Wespay’s success in creating a positive member experience. The active desire of members to be involved demonstrates their commitment to the organization and also reflects a high level of satisfaction and engagement with the services and support provided by Wespay. This engagement is a crucial component of Wespay’s strategy to continuously improve and adapt its offerings to meet the evolving needs of its members in the dynamic landscape of the financial services industry

Putting Feedback Into Action for Improved CX

The process of soliciting feedback, according to Jennifer, is about listening to every piece of feedback verbatim and identifying trends and commonalities within the feedback that might indicate areas that require taking action for improvement. This strategic approach allows Wespay to prioritize changes that have the most significant impact on the member experience, ensuring resources are allocated efficiently and effectively. 

Jennifer points out the crucial step of communicating back to the members that their feedback has been received and, in some cases, acted upon. This communication is vital in reinforcing the members’ value to the organization, demonstrating that their input directly influences the evolution of the service offerings. Such acknowledgments, whether through messages stating “We’ve heard you” or announcements of changes or educational events, serve to close the feedback loop, fostering a sense of community and partnership between the organization and its members. 

This practice illustrates how a culture of listening, adaptation, and recognition can optimize member satisfaction and loyalty. By embedding these principles into the fabric of its operations, Wespay showcases a model of membership-as-a-service that is responsive and member-centric while continually evolving to meet the needs of its community.  

What Jennifer Does for Fun

Jennifer’s favorite way to unwind and recharge involves quality time with Laverne, her cherished English bulldog. Jennifer also loves to travel, especially on a cruise, and makes it a point to go on one or two trips each year. This blend of adventure and relaxation is the balance Jennifer finds between her professional life and personal time.

 To learn more about Jennifer’s role at Wespay, connect with her on LinkedIn

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