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Pendo Story: MemberClicks

Michael Peach // November 22, 2016


Duncan McCreery is the VP of Product for MemberClicks, an association management platform based in Atlanta, GA. “What that means, “ said Duncan, “Is that we’re the membership database, front-end website, event registration, and broadcast email tool for small associations. We have over 1600 associations using our product.” The MemberClicks team focuses on customer service as a key differentiator. “We’re really focused on empowering small association success through technology with a heart for service, and it’s that heart that sets us apart.”

Duncan has been in the Product role for several years. “It became immediately apparent to me that we were making a lot of our decisions on ‘hunches.’ We needed something to validate the hunches and help us understand what was really important, something to help us look at the usage and popularity of features. The first solution that we looked at was Fullstory for user session recording and replay.”

“Fullstory is great,” Duncan continues, “We love the product, and we’re still happy customers, but it didn’t address all of our challenges. It was great at finding problems in the UI and the UX, but it wasn’t great at giving us a macro story of what features are being used and the flows and the paths that users are taking throughout the product. And, of course, it had no ability to communicate with users.”

MemberClicks continued their search for tools that would help them better understand and engage with users. “We looked at a couple solutions and received several recommendations for Pendo,” said Duncan, “It took 5 minutes to get live in our product, so the barrier to entry was virtually none. That was a great first impression. The interface seems more modern than some of the other solutions we looked at. Pendo also strikes a really good balance between in-app communication and showing us actionable data. Other products leaned one way or the other. Pendo is a really good balance between the two.”

Optimizing User Search

The MemberClicks team immediately began to discover some surprising behavior with Pendo. “We had this feature in the administrative side of our product that was very basic – a user search. It is a very simple feature. You type in a name, you get a list of possible matches, and choose the one you want. It wasn’t complicated, so we’d never put a whole lot of effort into optimizing it. However, what we found with Pendo was that this was our single most used feature. People were using that more than our dashboard, which is the first thing that you see when you log into the product.”

“This behavior was unexpected, so we looked further into specifically how users were using that feature. We saw that people using the search would type the name wrong, and they wouldn’t get the results they were expecting, or they would get no results, so they would run searches over and over. So to improve the product experience, we actually had to reduce the use of this feature.”

“We used Pendo to optimize the feature collaboratively with our users,” said Duncan, “We rolled each iteration of the new feature out to a subset of our users. We would target a Pendo guide to that specific subset letting them know about the new feature. Then, once someone had used the feature seven times, we served them a poll to get feedback. We asked them to rate the feature on a scale of 1 to 5 for some open-ended feedback. As we improved the search function, we averaged 4.6 on the ratings, and got a 70% response rate for the surveys.”


“When we finally released the updated search feature, we immediately saw a drop of 40% in usage of the feature. Most of the time, you would think that was a failure, but for us it was a huge win. This was one of our most successful feature launches, and it shows why it’s so important to measure and understand what users are doing in your application.”

Following the User Journey

The team, however, wasn’t done with the search feature yet. “So we did the release that made it much easier to search. But, we didn’t fully address what users were trying to accomplish with the search. To better understand this, we ran a path report to look at where users went after they ran a search. We found that 30% of users went on to create an invoice after running a people search. So they were looking for someone in order to send them an invoice, but we didn’t have those features connected. The data helped us to create a workflow that matched what customers were trying to do.”

Automating the Onboarding Process

User onboarding is an important focus area for MemberClicks “We have a specific team focused on onboarding,” said Duncan, “Our product isn’t really one that we can do self-service implementation. It’s not our product per se, but it’s our market. Associations tend to have really niche needs that require consultation to get them setup effectively in the product.”

“Right now our onboarding process is very manual. We do these 3 steps, the customer does the next 3 steps, and we provide support during the whole process. We believe that we can begin automating a bit more of that experience while still keeping it targeted and personalized. What we’ve found is that we have a lot of knowledge base articles that aren’t heavily consumed. They cover a lot of our setup and best practices. This is our low-hanging fruit. We want to make this information more digestible in the product, but also more relevant.”

Segment-based targeting for any automated onboarding project was critical for the MemberClicks team. “We have a lot of different types of customers. Some parts of the product are relevant to one segment, but not relevant at all to another. So tailoring the onboarding content is crucial. Our customers are trade and professional associations. Professional association members are people, and trade association members are companies. So we’ve got almost two separate feature sets in the product for each segment. Those were the first two segments that we set up in the product. That’s fundamental to us. We wanted to see what they are doing in the application, but we also wanted an easy way to communicate differently to them.”

“To begin onboarding automation we went to the onboarding team and asked them ‘what part of the product are you getting the most questions about’? We’re using the self-service aspect to augment our full onboarding process. We let new customers know where they can go back to the guides when they need to refresh themselves about something. So far the completion rates of the guides have been really high. We’re also seeing some early signs of effectiveness in terms of reducing the number of calls and emails that we get from our customers. And the customers are happier because they don’t have to send those emails or make those phone calls so it’s a win for us and a win for them.”

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