Member satisfaction — The Tax Institute's first priority

by Noel Rowland *

I recently saw the initial findings of The Tax Institute’s latest in-depth survey of member satisfaction. They make for interesting reading.

We will provide a summary of the 2017 survey insights in a future issue of the Taxation in Australia journal. In the meantime, I’d like to offer a few early reflections.

Background of the survey

The latest survey represents the most recent stage in our ongoing process of evaluating everything we do at the Institute.

At each CPD event we host, we ask for attendee evaluations. We ask candidates in our education programs for feedback on the quality of their learning experience. Likewise, our membership survey asks members about what they value most about the Institute, whether we’re providing the right kinds of services for them, and what we can do better.

Specifically, the survey asked questions such as:

  • What do you want from your membership?
  • How satisfied are you, and how engaged are you, with your membership experience?
  • How satisfied are you with the Institute’s core process areas, eg advocacy, education, events, member services and communications?
  • What would you like the Institute to do more of? What do you want less of?
  • Which new product and service ideas resonate with you?

The answers to these questions enable us to measure and understand our members’ experience with the Institute and to identify paths for greater engagement and satisfaction across all touchpoints.

Member satisfaction levels

The survey results reveal that the majority of our members (65%) are either extremely or very satisfied with their membership experience. Another 28% are at least somewhat satisfied.

This level maintains the member satisfaction levels achieved last year and is a tribute to what we have delivered to members so far.

However, while it’s a positive result, it’s not one we take for granted, and it doesn’t mean we can rest. In our quest for perfection, we continue to strive towards the perhaps unrealistic expectation of 100% member satisfaction.

Meeting different generational needs

The Institute’s average member is in their 40s or 50s and has been in practice for 20 to 25 years. They have engaged with The Tax Institute’s existing services and products for an extended period and their satisfaction levels are high.

At the same time, the research reflects alternative expectations from a younger generation of tax practitioners. Many in this generation prefer to access and consume information, services and products in a different way, with a focus on digital engagement, online learning, active networking and career support.

The Institute needs to continue balancing the competing needs of these two constituencies by delivering an increasingly comprehensive suite of services, products and delivery modes.

Key sources of tax knowledge

The survey indicates that 26% of members identify The Tax Institute as their main source of tax knowledge, second only to the ATO (at 31%), and ahead of all specialist commercial publishers of tax information.

Over the past year, the Institute has supported the ATO’s considerable efforts to improve its timely, efficient provision of public advice and guidance. However, astute professionals will always seek out independent, objective information, commentary, interpretation and analysis — by tax practitioners, for practitioners — from an entity such as The Tax Institute.

The core message

Overall, the main learning I derive from the 2017 membership survey is that the Institute continues to be on the same page as its members.

The dominant theme across the feedback on areas such as advocacy, education, events and member services is that the base level of member satisfaction has been high in the past and continues to be so in the present. While we seek to maintain a clear understanding of member needs at all times, this survey provides even more nuanced insights.

My sincere appreciation goes out to all members who took the time to complete the survey questionnaire. Your contribution helps us to frame the future initiatives that will further improve your member experience.

The Institute has also donated $5 to Lifeline for each completed questionnaire, culminating in a total donation of $2,745.

If you didn’t participate in the survey, please be assured that we are always eager to receive your feedback at any time throughout the year.

* Noel Rowland is The Tax Institute’s Chief Executive Officer. This article was originally published in the June issue of the Institute's Taxation in Australia journal


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