Reflecting on 2019 and AQHA’s Vision for 2020
Reflecting on 2019 and AQHA’s Vision for 2020
By AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines
As the year comes to an end, it is a great opportunity for us to reflect on the past and look toward the future. The start of 2019 began like many others for most of us – a time to reflect on the past year, make goals for the future year and to begin anew with endless possibilities before us. At AQHA, it was a time when we were diligently working on a new computer system.
The second quarter became a very challenging time for our Association. The transition to the new computer system was more difficult than anticipated. I am proud of the commitment and dedication the AQHA Executive Committee and our staff demonstrated to resolve these issues, which will allow us to better serve our members. Several key hires, including appointing Aaron Bovos to serve not only as the CFO, but also as the COO, as well as the addition of Tiffani Carter as our director of Member Experience paved the way for a massive reorganization within the building. Even though we are working diligently to continue to improve the level of service we are providing, we have made great strides and have made several significant changes to the way AQHA does business.
The Association implemented DocuSign – a simple way to send a safe and secure document with electronic signatures to assist in completing business with AQHA. To date, more than 4,400 DocuSign emails have been generated with members providing a 40% completion rate. AQHA and DocuSign recently entered into a more robust study where DocuSign will evaluate AQHA’s paper-based business processes and offer electronic solutions through the myriad of technology that company provides.
AQHA reimagined its phone system by making two significant changes to how we were providing customer service via the telephone. First, direct phone lines to several key departments were published, allowing our members to call these teams directly. Second, the member experience phone menu options were revised to better serve our customers for calls regarding registration-related topics, membership, records, billing and other transactions. A new language-line option was also implemented, offering non-English-speaking customers the ability to access AQHA services over the phone with the support of live translation in their native-language. Plus, more staff were added to respond to customer calls, along with the option to speak with a receptionist.
Additional changes have taken place to provide improved customer care, including reorganization within our Member Experience team, enhanced Member Experience training and the hiring of AQHA show secretaries for enhanced Member Services on location, performed by the Member Experience team.
With these improvements, on-hold times for the last quarter of 2019 have averaged under three minutes. Our goal is to continue to decrease the on-hold time for customers to approximately 90 seconds or less.
Customers now receive automated notifications when a membership is purchased or renewed with information about the status of their membership. This process includes text messages sent to U.S.-based customers, if AQHA has a current cell phone number on file for the customer. Our team is also in the process of implementing automated transfer notifications to help inform members about the status of their paperwork.
If you have a quick question or are looking for answers to FAQs, visit the new online AQHA Help Center at helpcenter.aqha.com/knowledge. The Member Experience team monitors the Help Center and regularly adds answers to FAQs to continue to build the answer database to better assist our members worldwide.
In May, AQHA welcomed John Lutz as the Association’s new chief revenue officer over sales and business development. John and his team have secured corporate sponsorship support through establishing new and improved marketing techniques to communicate corporate partner brands to our members worldwide.
We are also working on ways to improve the way we communicate with our customers. It is important for you to have current personal information on file with AQHA. You can update your information by signing into your account on AQHA.com.
What’s new for 2020? We will be working on a new design and business model for The American Quarter Horse Journal, led by John and his team, in collaboration with Jim Jennings. More information on this project will be shared at the 2020 AQHA Convention. We are working on show leaderboards, an online show entry system and member dashboard that we hope will make phenomenal progress toward providing our members with personal information about their American Quarter Horses, their achievements and invaluable easy-to-access pedigree information.
In essence, the challenges we overcame in 2019 allowed us to improve our basic registry and transfer transactions to be more timely and effective. With this foundation, we can now build to provide new and improved services for our members worldwide. Our goal is to not only continue to enhance turnaround times, but also build a way for customers to do these types of transactions on their computers or using a mobile device. I look forward to what 2020 will bring for our great Association and the equine industry!
Our offices will be closed on January 1 to allow employees to ring in the new year with their families. We wish you a Happy New Year and look forward to assisting you on January 2.