What are the role of Industry Associations? Are our associations living in previous century? Are our associations making their members ready for the future? Most Important what Industry Association thinks about customer they serve as Industry?
I surveyed OBJECTIVES of some of the associations mainly servicing retail clients. These are Retailers Associations of India (RAI), Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Association of Healthcare Providers India (AHPI), Insurance Brokers Association of India (IBAI), Indian Bankers Association (IBA) & Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI).
Its is interesting to mention that:
1) IBAI has put up their memorandum of association to know the objectives. We all know how the objectives of business is defined in the Memorandum of Association. Somewhere in About Us I found a para on objectives which talks about protecting the interest of members , interaction among members and educating the members etc. Nothing on code of conduct , ethics and values.
2) IBA - None of the 19 objectives talks about customer service, satisfaction or customer experiences. One of the objectives though talks about - To project a good image of banking as a service industry. So no customer in sight and even focus is on projection of image not creation of Image.
3) MCHI - None of the seven objectives talks about customer at all. Its all about their members. No responsibilities towards customers. Nothing on code of conduct , ethics and values.
4) COAI - One of the objectives talks about - To undertake continues efforts for customer satisfaction. Nothing on code of conduct , ethics and values.
5) AHPI - None of the 5 main objectives talks about customer service, satisfaction or experience. However there is a reference to the words like reach, affordability and safety of patients. They did talk about ethical standards for members.
One association which I found more proactive about the customers and ethics is RAI. Customers are the heart of any industry and business. Unless at association level customer culture is not talked about or kept at the center, members are likely to turn apathetic towards customer service and experience. Yes members for their owns sake are doing something for customer care and satisfaction but is it not the responsibly of every business association to percolate customer culture & ethical Behaviour in its stake holder members?
6) RAI - One of the 5 objectives states - To work for customer delight by helping retailers create the right retail environment.It also talks about transparency, code of conduct and right values.
How far have they succeeded is a matter of debate.
All associations are interested in expanding the reach, knowledge share, govt liaisening in policy making. However unless associations focus on CUSTOMER their members are out to serve, associations will be failing in their role.
I would like to end with the quote from the research report on Association Forecast 2012 by Shelly Alcorn who interviewed executives of 200 associations in the US.