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What Language does your Software Speak?

By | Customer Experience, Engagement, Industry, Membership, Mission Delivery | No Comments

mtenhakenThis is a guest post from Mark Ten Haken, Director of Information Systems for the Greater Green Bay YMCA. In this post, Mark shares his experiences when searching and selecting a new YMCA software provider. 

Guppy, SACC, AOA, MFA, Engagement, Retention, Termination, Renewal….what language is that? I bet if you show that list of terms and acronyms to somebody outside the Y, you get an entirely different set of answers than if you show them to Y staff. Yes, we at the Y speak our own language but does the software we use understand it?

When we started the process of selecting a software vendor, we developed an extensive list of functionality requirements. Can the software handle 2nd child discounts? What about 3rd party billing? Is there social media integration? Can we draft people other than the 1st and 15th of the month? Is there a simple way to print invoices? Will the software handle gift cards to our expectations? Is there a convenient way for people to join online? Can you divide your campaign into teams? Are there reports for this…are there reports for that? ….well, you get the idea. These things (and more) are all important things to consider when selecting a software vendor.

After you have put together your long list of functionality requirements. After you have developed the surveys you will distribute to staff to evaluate vendors. After you have crossed your ‘t’s and dotted your ‘i’s, there may be one final question that you should consider that may be the most important one of all; what software best speaks the Y language? At the surface this may seem insignificant or overly simplified, but after you give it some thought, the answer to the question in invaluable.

For a decade, we struggled with a piece of software that got lost in translation. What we considered a terminated membership meant something different in the software we were using. A renewal wasn’t really a renewal as we think of it. Retention was hard to measure when the system didn’t quite know how to treat a renewal or termination…an upgrade from an adult membership to a family membership? …whew!.. that really skewed the retention measurement. What about member engagement?…that might as well been Martian language to the software we were using because it didn’t understand the concept. How do we expect staff to be effective and efficient when they, and the software they are utilizing to better serve and engage members, speak two different languages?

We shouldn’t need translation between all the terms, concepts and measurements that are involved with the Y model and the software that serves us. We shouldn’t need a translator to accurately measure what the Y considers to be a terminated member, a membership renewal, or a retained member even if the member upgrades from adult to family. We shouldn’t need to compromise customer service because answers are hard to find. We shouldn’t need to bend and mold our way of doing things to fit into the confines of a piece of software that doesn’t speak our language.

We should expect our software to understand social media integration. We should expect our software to accurately measure year over year terminations and new member comparisons. We should expect the software that we use to understand MFA, SACC and AOA. We should expect our software to understand the need to quickly serve and provide answers to members either online or at our front desks. We certainly should expect our software to intimately understand and measure member engagement so we can better serve our members. We should expect our software to speak the Y language. Daxko speaks our language. What language does your software speak?

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Daxko Team Members Impact Communities Across the U.S.

By | Community, Culture, Employment Brand, Healthy Stuff | 5 Comments

Today, we hear from one of our remote team members, Jim Keeter, who works in Portland, Oregon. Jim decided to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with a friend in Arizona, giving back to those in need.

A college friend of mine and I have celebrated a few Thanksgivings together, the most recent being 4 years ago. He was living in San Diego, and I was living in Seattle. We decided to spend a long 5-night Thanksgiving weekend in Las Vegas. Yes, it was painful! My friend moved to Scottsdale, AZ a few months ago and talked me into spending Thanksgiving this year with him. Instead of wasting more money, brain cells, and time (ha!) we decided to do something a little more real, more genuine, and more in the spirit of Thanksgiving. We came up with the crazy idea to cook 12 turkeys and all the fixings for those in need. Everyone needs a real home-cooked meal, especially on Thanksgiving!

We ended up cooking:

  • 12 turkeys
  • 60 pounds of mashed potatoes
  • Homemade stuffing
  • Green bean casserole
  • Corn
  • Fresh rolls
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Apple pie
Thanksgiving turkeys

Where do you thaw 12 turkeys? The bathtub, of course!

 

And we delivered the meals, along with ice cream, sodas, water, and a few beers. When the day was over, we had fed of 120 homeless Americans in the Phoenix area. I’m thankful to have spent time with warm, kind, loving souls who are starving for hope, respect, acknowledgement, a smile, hug, or plate of warm food. I am proud to say I spent my holiday embracing and feeding our sisters and brothers, and making a difference.

Best of all, this was easy. So I propose we all try to show a little kindness this holiday season and throughout 2017 with something I’m calling the 12th Man Holiday! You can start this on 12/12, and the idea is simple: Make a difference. Buy 12 pizzas for strangers, pay for 12 parking meters, yield for people at 12 stop signs. Any act of kindness and helpfulness is fair game. Mark the 12th day of every month as 12th Man Holiday, and make a difference.

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Now That It’s Sunk In…

By | Culture, Healthy Stuff | No Comments

The 18 months of the presidential election season were bizarre. It made House of Cards seem like a boring political documentary. 

Then came last Tuesday night! Things seemed to become even more unbelievable. In fact, I can’t remember a more surprising outcome of a major event…OK, the Cubs World Series 3-1 come-from-behind victory to snap a 108-year drought was pretty surprising too. 

Regardless of which (if either) of the candidates you were pulling for, I don’t think anyone saw it playing out the way it did. Some people were in tears, others in shock, quite a few yelling “Finally, we stuck it to the establishment!” and a handful googling “homes for sale in Canada.”

Seeing people’s reactions reminds me of something we preach to Daxko team members. During times of great change, those that tend to experience more success and less anxiety have a way of getting comfortable being uncomfortable.

A change is announced. They listen and observe attentively. Like others, they get butterflies and their face might turn a bit red. Then they quickly shift. They ask questions for clarity and understanding. They internalize. Finally, they come to the decision that with change comes opportunity, and they charge forward on this new path with optimism and determination. 

Our new leader has been chosen fair and square by the people, and we’ll have a peaceful transition like we always do. On those two facts alone, we should celebrate. It’s easy to take our unique democracy for granted. 

Regardless of who you supported, the sun rose again on November 9, 2016, and it will do so on January 21, 2017. 

We can all whine and spread the sentiment that “we’re done,” or we can embrace the change, hold our leaders accountable, spread optimism and pray our leaders do what they’re called to do. 

Get comfortable being uncomfortable!

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Stranger Things

By | Culture, Healthy Stuff | No Comments

Warning: this culture blog post contains spoilers for Stranger Things. You’ve been warned – continue if you dare.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve heard about or watched Stranger Things, the much buzzed about Netflix original series. My boyfriend pleaded with me to watch this with him, and I knew I had to oblige him, as he’s watched two seasons of Grace & Frankie with me without complaint. I hate all things scary, so I wasn’t really that excited to watch it, but I dove in anyway. I figured, with as much as I love Buffy and The X-Files, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.

Binge-watch, engage. I was hooked. Totally hooked. HOW can I wait another year for another season? If I have to wait, I’m going to incorporate as much Stranger Things into my life as possible – including adopting some of the characteristics of the show’s characters.

Here’s what I am working on so far:

#1: Be persistent like Joyce.
We saw Joyce be single minded, with total focus on one thing: to find her son. Joyce doesn’t give up. She refuses to succumb to doubt, even when the odds are against her. Joyce works for what she wants, even if It can be exhausting. Refusing to give up, even when the odds are stacked against you, is incredibly important.

#2: Care like Barb.
It’s important that we care about the people in our lives. From our friends to our co-workers to the people we work with every day, everyone needs to feel like they matter to someone. Incorporating a level of caring into your day to day is one of the best things you can do.

#3: Try like Mike.
We see Mike refuse to give up on Will throughout the entire season. Mike refuses to let negativity get the best of him, and is the glue that holds his group of friends together. Mike has his moments of impatience and frustration, but through each episode, we can see that he clearly makes an effort, and does so for the greater good.

#4: Joke like Dustin.
We can’t work hard without playing hard. For me, humor is a vital part of what I do every day, every week. I love to joke around with my coworkers, or the people that I am training. Humor is such a welcome relief from structure and I believe it’s absolutely necessary to a happy work environment.

#5: Face your fears like Eleven.
Eleven is timid, but she’s also strong. She fears many things, but knows she has to face that fear in order to help others and restore order. I have felt that way many times in my career…the fear almost overtakes me, but I have to face that fear head on to do the best possible job I can do.

Bonus: Always take an Eggo break.


Deeanna S. is a Software Trainer and Tudor history buff who loves the outdoors.

Want to work (and take Eggo breaks) with Deeanna? We’re looking for a Software Trainer to join our team! Read about this opportunity.