7 Questions For Your Corporate Alumni Vendor
When choosing a technology platform for your organization engage their former employees, generally a feature/function RFP is issued. Does your Corporate Alumni Platform have these features? A yes / no series of questions which is then weighted against price, service, references and relationships to choose the platform that can best serve your organization. It is critical within the RFP to include an additional column to define what is self service (you can configure as an admin) vs what requires the company to execute on your behalf.
However, context is often missed both during the RFP questions and during the demonstrations to think about how you intend to use the features and the outcomes you are looking to achieve. Furthermore, the features should be interrogated to run your outcomes and understand how the feature or function will be used on a day to day basis.
Spending extra time going through the motions of seeing how the outcomes are created and having a feel of the technology in real use cases often opens up both opportunities to learn and see features you may not have realized existed but also product deficiencies that will impact your ability to execute.
Here are 7 questions and context points that have to form part of your decision making process:
Analytics: Does your platform have analytics?
Not all Analytics is created equal, so the following questions might help you understand how the analytics and the data is going to best serve your organization.
- Is all analytics centralized so I can run a report or visualization across any and all data on the platform?
- Can I self service create the reports based on the data important to our platform
- Can we create multiple different reports as individuals (to see data important to our specific job role) and as a company (to see program level data)
- What can the data show me and how can I export or leverage that data to run a specific campaign or program
The outcome of the data you are looking to understand and your vendor should be able to demonstrate are functional questions that relate to the health of the program.
- How many members do we have and how do I see that data over time
- What is the average number of times a member returns to the site
- How many members are dormant (define dormant as perhaps a user who signed up but has not engaged either since signup or since their last action)
- How many members interact with our platform / emails / content in any manner
- How many DAU/MAU do I have and what is my churn of member engagement
- What are the actions / funnels that users take through the platform
- Can I view any user and see all their activity, logins and history
- Can I merge fields such as “show me all logins against emails so I can see how effective our email conversion is”
- Can I see how many members log in and engage in the content in some manner
- Can I change something, anything on the reports or are they fixed
User Messaging & Notifications: How we communicate with our users
Messaging is more than just whether there is an email sending capability, and notifications is more than just a bell in the corner that shows if you have a message.
For an organization to be able to engage their users in a platform notifications and messaging needs to be intelligent and have dynamic personalization.
- Can messaging campaigns be sent based on the users time zone (vs one big send to all people at one time)
- Can messaging be via email and SMS as some communications users would prefer as a text message
- Can I create segments such as send an email to people who did or did not open the last email, or who clicked a specific CTA in the last email, or people who have joined but then never logged back in. How micro can you go with these groups.
- Can i build automated campaigns based on a journey – so when a user joins they get the template email, but then based on their next activities there is another email sequence. (if they have not logged in after a week a reminder and introduction to the values, if they are a senior exec an email from the program director more personal in nature, if they have not logged in in 90 days send x.
- Can I upload a excel of recipients that I want to send a campaign to.
Think of some scenarios of how you might leverage and think about messaging to your community and identify whether those functions are support.
This same concept is applied to notifications, are they alerts, what do they tell the user, how do they get these notifications? If someone comments on their content what is the communication sent to the author and how does the author manage those preferences.
Do notifications highlight was has been missed since your last login and can you push notifications to certain segments or groups in your community.
Build some scenarios of notifications for you Alumni community and build them in the platform.
User To User Messaging
How do users connect with each other and how does that work from a consent and notifications system.
- If someone wants to send me a message do I have to approve / accept the message before a conversation is started?
- Do I get a notification via email or SMS about the message and can I just reply to the email or do I have to login to the system.
- What controls exists to prevent members spamming or messaging all members unsolicited.
- As a member can I define my messaging preferences.
- Can I see messaging analytics in my reports, to understand the number of messages sent and the % of responses.
Service Tickets & Release Schedule
On pages like the landing page (alumni.company.com) vs content or pages you create as an admin, how can you update content or imagery or does it require an engineering ticket.
Understanding what elements require an engineer and a ticket are critical. All companies have release cycles (daily, weekly, monthly) and all companies have big features that can delay a release.
If updating some text or an image requires an engineer and an open release schedule, it is important to define the SLA’s expected.
The days of users having to email support or submit a ticket has passed, users expect and are entitled to transparency.
- As a user how can I see all data “you” hold on me.
- As a user can I deactivate my profile
- As a user can I delete my profile
- What are the confirmation steps I see as a user and does it actually work
- What actions require an admin that a user cannot self-complete
- Can a user update their email, their name, their password in a self service manner
It is important to remember that any action you as an admin have to complete on behalf of the user, is time taken away from delivering value to your community.
Understanding the scope of this manual administration work enables you to better plan your headcount and your day.
Intelligence & Insights
Closely related to Analytics & Reporting is the question around how does the platform measure, manage and deliver insights into the value, success, opportunities or failures of the user journey.
Whether this is intelligent signals that can highlight outlier events in the data or BI that can spot potential trends.
This becomes critical as you start to scale and see volume. You can measure and get a gut sense when you only have 300-1000 users, as you start go up from there, you need the data to tell you what to find.
If you had a sudden increase in signups in Brazil last Tuesday, how would you find out, how would you be able to work backwards and understand why.
A web only experience, fully responsive and available on all devices is the standard. Can any user access the site from any device and have an enjoyable experience.
However to truly drive a community, a mobile app is a requirement, fully branded, fully themed and unique to your community, vs a generic app by the vendor.
The mobile app introduces a whole new wave of functions that accelerate onboarding, engagement and value:
- Push notifications to make it easy and quick to communicate and deliver value to your community without having to send emails or recaps.
- Face ID support allows one click easy login meaning its quicker and easier to access your content
- Allows for higher volume of micro engagement, vs hoping the user at some point returns to the website and looks around