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    • #8216
      Lori SandersLori Sanders
      Participant

      Our strength and legitimacy has been tested during the labour issues recently faced in our city. Many of our members are concerned with these issues and we have received many letters, emails and phone calls dealing with this them. Our CEO and myself, as president, have taken the time to follow-up each and every concern addressed by our members. This communication practice of replying to member concerns is investigated in every department of our retail, showing members that their concerns are listened to and taken seriously as Co-op members. This diligence and care illustrates that our members are very important to us in providing the goods and services to them and is another part of how we work at building and maintaining trust with our retail in our community.

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    • #8230
      Jen BudneyJen Budney
      Participant

      Lori, it’s super heartening to hear about how you are handling this. Your care in communicating will go a long way in maintaining the trust of your members during this incredibly stressful time.

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    • #8234
      Desiree VandenhovenDesiree Vandenhoven
      Participant

      Like Lorie mentioned “strength and legitimacy has been tested” is an ongoing matter. It seems we as Co-operatives are held to a different standard.
      We too, always make sure when there is a complaint or even a positive comment we respond to the people as soon as possibble and make sure the interactions end on a positive note. Staying in touch with the membership is so important and we keep looking for ways to do this outside of an AGM. Trying to stay in touch with as broad a base as posible.
      Being active in different communities can sometimes be a challenge. But with proper communications we have come a long ways!

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    • #8240
      Ward WeisenselWard Weisensel
      Participant

      I agree with the comments above that Coops need to hold themselves to a much higher standard as it relates to customer (member) engagement.
      When a member raises concerns they are showing their strong interest in their organization and responding is critical to maintaining and improving our legitimacy. That said, many members do not have the same level of commitment to the key principles of a cooperative. They simply want good service at a competitive price. As an organization, we need to be on top of needs of all members and this needs to be measured in many different ways. Some of these measures are very similar to those used by our competitors (market share, customer surveys, etc.). Our key advantage as a coop is that we can rely on the word of mouth of our very committed members as they can be key ambassadors for us that allows us to grow our business with those who are not as familiar with the role of their coop in the community.

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    • #8257
      Carol RipleyCarol Ripley
      Participant

      I see some great practices expressed in this thread. Our Credit Union also relies heavily on word of mouth and testimonials of satisfied members to build legitimacy. However, after reading the comments above, I feel that we are lacking in direct communications with our members. While we are very visible in our community, I can see that we really need to think more proactively about engaging our members and listening to their concerns and desires. To ensure that we have the right vision of the future, we need to go beyond research and environmental scans to member outreach and two way communications.

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    • #8270
      Jen BudneyJen Budney
      Participant

      Great points here, folks. Carol – I’m glad you found this useful in terms of ideas you can take back to your own co-op.

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    • #8340
      Cheryl WallaceCheryl Wallace
      Participant

      It was interesting to see the comments on legitimacy from each of the other participants. I have found the comments useful to think about my own organization. I think there are times when we could ask for membership input more than we do. Just because we are representatives of the membership does not mean we “know” everything or what membership wants. WE are a representation. I think we could add to legitimacy by more member engagement. Also look at more AI to see trends in our membership.

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