Low voltage

Over the weekend, my car battery went under. But that’s actually the end of the story.

On a cool but not frigid day, I turned the car on, and nothing happened. Then, the odometer cycled from zero to max and then back to zero. After that, the engine started making a clicking noise. There was no battery warning light.

It was a holiday in the United States, so professional help was hard to come by. I went back to the house, opened my browser to Google and typed in “Chrysler Town & Country electrical won’t start“. In about two minutes I’d found a post that described my problem exactly and offered a diagnosis: low battery voltage. We jumped the battery and made plans to have the car serviced.

Associations should care about how I fixed my car. In particular, they should recognize the ease with which I diagnosed and solved my problem. It tells a story about the how quickly and effectively associations need to provide their members with relevant information.

It also tells an interesting story about who solves problems. I didn’t go to the Chrysler site (at all), and if I had I have little faith that I’d have easily found “odometer cycles to max and back to zero”.

I found my problem and solution in a user forum hosted by commercial publisher Edmunds. Car owners talking to car owners: it may not always be elegant, but it got me the answer I needed quickly. Members talking to members, and others, can be just as effective.

I’ve written before about the value of links. It’s great to be able to point people to the content you have, and you should do that really well. It’s even better to supplement those links with ones to resources you don’t always control. Helping members solve problems makes them loyal to your web site and increasingly sticky to your association.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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