Credit Union Member Surveys | An Inside Look at How the Process Works

credit union survey members market researchWhen it comes to credit union member surveys, you will not be short on choices. Some of the core methodologies include a credit union member mail survey, member email survey, or member phone survey. Each of these 3 core methodologies have their own unique pros and cons.

Pros and Cons of a Member Mail Survey

With a mail survey you can reach all members in one reach-out. It also adds a more personal and formal touch to the member survey process (versus an informal email). Our credit union market research company always recommends including a link to complete the survey online (located on the cover letter) if the member chooses to do so. The official cover letter from the President or CEO explains the importance of the market research, why a response is important, and how the results will be used.

The cons of a mail survey start with the expense. There is a charge for printing, postage, assembly, envelopes, return postage, and data entry. All of those surveys returned on paper have to be input into a survey software for analysis. These costs can quickly add up if your credit union membership is 5,000 members, 10,000 members, or more. Because of the process involved with mailing and the need to leave fieldwork open for about 4 weeks, mail surveys take longer than other online member survey options.

Who wins the battle as far as methodology of choice? Well, that's up to your credit union.

Pros and Cons of a Member Email Survey

The biggest pro of using a member email survey for your credit union is the cost savings. Email surveys are inexpensive. They also offer a quick-turnaround. There is no long timeframe involved with printing and assembly. Conducting the survey online with our credit union market research company also gives our clients the ability to have live look-ins on the data as the responses roll-in through our online dashboards. At face value the ROI of an online survey like this is high.

A con is that the survey is a bit more passive and informal than a mail or phone survey. Emails are abundant nowadays and inboxes are swamped. The other threat of solely using an email survey is that not all credit unions have member emails for their entire database. Some credit unions opt to run a combination of email and mail surveys to audiences.

Pros and Cons of a Member Phone Survey

Lastly, the final option is phone member surveys for credit unions. The phone survey is the most personal of all 3 options for a credit union because it's the only methodology that offers 2-way communication. Phone interviewers are able to dig deep into responses and follow-up on answers. It's the only choice that offers person-to-person communication.

The cons of a phone survey are much like mail surveys. They are expensive. It includes the cost of hiring interviewers to call phone numbers and have 5 to 15 minute conversations with members versus sending 1 email out to all members and letting them reply at their convenience. The length of time to complete fieldwork is longer than an email survey.

Some credit unions choose to combine the 3 options (e.g. email and mail, or email and phone). Another choice is to post a link on the credit union website and wait for members to reply. The response rate is typically extremely low on these because members are not directly invited.

Now that the 3 most common member survey options are out of way, let's talk about the process.

Thinking about a credit union member survey and looking for a market research company? Here are the process highlights below.

Step 1: Kickoff and Workplan

After the proposal is written, sent, and signed off on by your credit union, the next step is to hold a kickoff. The proposal is essentially the project contract that highlights the process, timeline, and cost. There is an agreement page at the end which is signed by both parties.

Here are the 7 components of a market research proposal.

The kickoff meeting addresses a credit union's needs from the market research, expectations, and what is planned for the results. It officially launches the project and sets the tone.

The workplan then closely follows from the member survey market research company. This is a document that includes the key tasks, dates of delivery, and other timeline notes. It guides the project to make sure all parties remain on schedule.

Step 2: Survey Design

The information and feedback obtained from the kickoff is then utilized to build a member survey document. This is first drafted in Word and exchanged with the credit union so revisions can be made on the paper version. This includes goal language from the market research company which explains the what, so what, and now what for each question.

The survey design is a critical piece of any member survey project. The credit union market research company will create custom questions based on a credit union's unique needs but also recommend best practice questions including key performance indicators such as NPS, CSAT, CES, LTS, and others.

Step 3: Testing and Fieldwork

Once the survey draft is finalized it is then programmed into the survey software and tested. The online survey is both tested internally and with the credit union team before launch. Then the market research company begins a soft launch or test drive of the survey with a small email batch of members to make sure there are no issues, questions are comprehended, and to estimate response rates. After this the full launch begins.

For the mail survey, this link is included in the cover letter. As part of the mail survey process, the survey is also formatted for printers so it can be tri-folded and stuffed into envelopes. There are lots of logistics and planning involved with prepping a large mailing. It typically takes about a week to code, print, assemble, and prep a mailing for the USPS. Then the USPS needs about 2 to 4 days to send the mailing.

For the phone survey, the survey document is programmed into a computer assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) software, much like an online survey. This includes skip logic and routing.

Step 4: Analysis and Reporting

After fieldwork is completed the final step is analysis and reporting. The mail surveys are returned and data entered. Phone surveys are entered throughout fieldwork through CATI. Email surveys are instantaneous. The next step is to clean all of the data and review it for quality checks.

The credit union report from our market research company includes an executive summary of themes with recommendations, an infographic, member personas and profiles, and an appendix of question by question results broken down by key demographics: age, length of membership, type of accounts, etc.

Contact Our Credit Union Market Research Company

Drive Research is a credit union member survey market research company located in New York State. We work with financial institutions across the assist with their member survey needs. Our team can assist with your member mail survey, email survey, or phone survey and advise on the best option for your team.

Contact us at [email protected] or call us at 315-303-2040. Contact us on our website here.

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