As a financial institution, when you bring on a new account customer it is crucial to understand how the experience went. The first experience when opening a new account will likely set the tone for the entire banking relationship with your institution. You only get once chance to make a good first impression and with financial institutions, it is no different.
What Constitutes as a New Account Opening Survey?
Most financial institutions relate a new account to any new opening of a deposit or loan account.
This could span across both personal and commercial customers (B2C and B2B). Examples include a person opening a new checking or savings account, a person taking a home equity loan, or a person refinancing a mortgage.
It could also include business customers opening a new deposit account or taking a business loan from a bank or credit union.
The key is...
These are all critical touchpoints for a financial institution to measure.
New account openings are critical touchpoints in a customer journey at a bank or credit union.
The Importance of Surveying Customers at These New Account Touchpoints
It eludes to our prior point about initial engagement with a bank or credit union.
As a customer opens a new account with a financial institution it will likely set the table for initial perceptions and loyalty. In many cases this customer had experiences at other financial institutions and may have even switched away from a competitor because of poor customer service.
Therefore, it's important to measure, track, and trend these experiences so a financial institution can understand what needs to be improved for future dealings with new customers.
What is Measured in a New Account Opening Survey?
You'll want to measure several different Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in your new account opening surveys. The true goal of the process is to measure the experience.
This can be accomplished through a simple Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) question using a 1 to 5 scale (to keep it mobile friendly) or a traditional 1 to 10 scale. I would argue this over a Net Promoter Score (NPS) because NPS measures likelihood to recommend.
NPS is more of a loyalty and relationship measurement and with the new account opening being so early in the customer process, a more direct CSAT question works better.
In most (if not all) cases, the customer dealt with a person face-to-face or by phone to open the account. Although, many institutions allow the customer to at least start this process online.
Nonetheless, if there was some person-to-person engagement, your bank or credit union should measure professionalism, responsiveness, the ability of the representative to answer questions, turn-around time to open the account, etc.
These types of questions will help determine and identify areas of improvement and places to focus training. In addition to these questions, several other can be asked about improving the experience, drivers to opening the account, consideration of competitors, and awareness of other products at the financial institution.
Options are endless, but you'll want to keep the script to 8 to 15 questions maximum.
More on that in a bit.
What gets measured, gets managed.
What are the Options for New Account Opening Surveys?
Several options exist for new account surveys. The most popular methodologies are email, mail, and telephone or a mixed-mode approach.
Which of these options is best for your financial institution?
If you follow our market research blog regularly, you'll know how we feel about online and email surveys. No methodology offers better peripherals. They are cost-effective, offer a short-turnaround, and if constructed well, produce quality data. The best ROI in the industry. If you collect email addresses of new account holders at your bank or credit union we highly recommend this option.
Mail surveys are another common form of market research for new account openings. Mail surveys take a bit more time to set up, format, and prepare but offer a strong response rate. Some financial institutions like this approach because it feels a little more personal than an email. The quality of data is strong here but the cost is much higher and the turn-around time is longer. The costs quickly add up when you review prep time, postage, printing, and data entry.
This is also another highly personal reach-out. We talk about the importance of using a third-party for your market research and this is a reason why. If the mortgage lender representative called the customer 48 hours after opening and asked them to rate himself or herself on things like friendliness, professionalism, and responsiveness, do you think the customer could be honest?
Phone surveys work well as a mixed-mode approach with email surveys. Many clients take advantage of the ROI and cost savings with email surveys as a first step. If the response rate falls below expectations, reminder phone calls are scheduled as a step 2.
Speaking of steps, here are the steps to conduct a new account opening survey at a financial institution.
How do New Account Opening Surveys Work?
The new account survey process is broken down into 4 key components of a market research project. It's important to note unlike other ad hoc market research studies, new account surveys should be longitudinal and ongoing. The value of continually reaching out and benchmarking performance is a must. It doesn't make much sense to do this for 1 month and stop.
Step 1: Kickoff
Here, you'll want to set your goals and objectives. This will involve discussions around KPIs and what questions you want to ask in the survey. The market research consultant you work with will recommend several question options as well as listen to your needs and feedback. The outcome of the kickoff meeting is to design a well-structured survey and lay out a timeline of next steps. These next steps also include a Driver's Manual workplan laying out responsibilities and key tasks.
Step 2: Survey Design and Set up
The good news here is once this is done, it is done, barring any changes or additions to the survey script once fielded. It is recommended the survey last between 8 and 15 questions. Shorter surveys produce higher response rates and fewer drop-offs. The goal of the new account surveys is to quickly measure the customer experience, not gain 30-minutes worth of feedback on a new account opening process that may have taken only 5 minutes.
Step 3: Fieldwork
The question you'll want to answer here is how frequently should you survey customers. The sooner the better. The sooner you can follow-up on an experience the more accurate the recall will be. Another benefit of email surveys is they are much easier to turn-around and survey every week. When it comes to mailings, you have to prepare a list, print, stuff, and send surveys. In a best case scenario you're likely looking at every 2 weeks.
Step 4: Reporting
The idea here is to continually build on your reporting. This can be structured in several ways. Clients can opt into a monthly report, quarterly report, semi-annual report, and/or annual report. These reports range from dashboards to in-depth PowerPoint reports.
The levels of these reports can be customized and timed according to the bank or credit union's budget. It's important to have access to real-time data so benchmarks and metrics can be measured continually. You'll also want to create a closed-loop process for your customer experience (CX) feedback.
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