Assessing the Needs of Online Members: Tips for Developing Online Surveys

Do you really know what your members think about your credit union? What did members experience the last time they applied for an auto loan, visited one of your branches, or tried to find out the status of their mortgage loan?

 
 

Do you really know what your members think about your credit union? What did members experience the last time they applied for an auto loan, visited one of your branches, or tried to find out the status of their mortgage loan?

One of the best ways to get feedback from your members is by conducting a survey. Once you've decided what you want to ask, you should decide the best way of delivering the survey to members. Options include everything from distributing comment cards at the branch to posting an electronic survey to your website to mailing your members a paper survey. The method you choose should consider, among other things, what you need to find out, when you need the information, and your budget.

Credit unions are increasingly using web-based surveys to poll their online membership. Benefits include lower cost compared to traditional survey methods and faster turnaround. For example, a short online survey can be developed, posted online and its responses gathered and reviewed within days, not weeks. This can enable you to act more quickly on the information you've gathered.

Last week, the American Marketing Association presented a seminar on Online Research Essentials in Washington DC. Here are just a few guidelines discussed during the session that may be helpful to credit unions considering online research:

  • Keep it Short and Simple
    Internet users have a short attention span, so shorter surveys will be better received. Eliminate any unnecessary questions and try to reduce visual clutter when preparing the layout.

  • The First Question Sets the Tone
    Start your survey with an interesting question that captures members' attention and motivates them to continue taking the survey. If at all possible, sensitive demographic questions such as income, age and ethnicity should be addressed at the end of the questionnaire.

  • Keep Respondents Interested and Engaged
    Be cautious about including ''check-all-that-apply'' questions. Including a long list of tasks that can be clicked through mindlessly can make it easy for members to rush through the survey.

  • Be Aware of Technical Issues that Can Affect Response
    Test the survey on various browser types and connection speeds. Make sure text line length does not exceed the width of the browser window.

  • Include Your Contact Information
    Don't forget to include information on whom to contact (name, phone number and/or email address) in case the member experiences a problem taking the survey. Besides demonstrating to members that you want them to complete the survey, their feedback can provide early notification of problems.
 

 

 

May 19, 2003


Comments

 
 
 
  • Would love a sample survey to illustrate your points.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • While I appreciate the benefits inherent in online surveys, I feel the article should have contained a caveat regarding potential sample bias. We at Credit Union Resources urge CUs to be very cautious in conducting online surveys since respondents to these surveys still may be quite unrepresentative of the CU's entire membership base. While we believe online surveys have a limited role to place at this point - for example, as a means of evaluating a credit union's website - this type of research does raise significant methodological concerns.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • Examples of other cu surveys would help
    Anonymous