written by Leslie Cook

Two weeks ago, HDI launched its long-awaited new membership model, a huge change that's been more than a year in the making.

It all started in 2014, when we detected a slight, but steady decline in our membership numbers. From discussions with members and nonmembers, we knew our membership model was complicated, our benefit structure hard to follow. You have to remember, we had six different levels of membership, ranging from $75 to $6,500. This complexity had muddied the value proposition for joining HDI.

For our members, it’s important to have a growing community. The more members we have, the more networking and collaboration opportunities we can provide. The result is a larger base of expertise, broader research, and a louder voice in the industry, all of which provides members with greater resources and empowerment.

In 2014, the HDI leadership team came together for a two-day workshop to discuss the membership issue. We set out to understand our current customers’ concerns as well as those of former members and nonmembers. It was important for us to look at our membership model from the outside-in and discuss improvements, based on customer concerns. Lots of great, and sometimes difficult, changes were proposed in those meetings. However, myself and others on the team didn't think we had enough information to support some of the proposed changes without collaborating with the community further.

During the first half of 2015, we conducted fifteen focus groups throughout North America and surveyed hundreds of technical support professionals to get the information we needed to perfect our membership model. Our research and analysis was extensive, and it was your feedback that guided this much-needed update to the membership model. More than ever before, HDI is an organization of the members, by the members, and for the members...and we think that’s pretty special.

What did HDI do with the feedback from the focus groups and survey results? We've simplified the membership structure: no more unnecessary member levels, no more confusing pricing structure, and no more unclear benefits. There's now just one level of membership (at a new low price of $295) and just one choice: to join or not to join. At this new level, all members have access to the same great benefits.

One of those great benefits is a relaunched HDIConnect. This new version of our online community is command central for HDI members: a one-stop destination for peer learning and interaction, collaboration and knowledge sharing. There, you can connect with those who share your goals and challenges and gain access to your exclusive member benefits (research, resources, etc.). This version of HDIConnect will go dark on March 1, but the new version is already live. Visit connect.thinkhdi.com (and bookmark it!) today to join the conversation!