When I was growing up (and back when game shows had a place on the primetime lineup on TV) I watched “Family Feud” just about every night. It was a fun game show and I always got a kick out of the host, Richard Dawson. In addition to taking liberties unheard of today (such as kissing female contestants square on the lips,) at the end of every question, his booming voice would shout, “Survey said!” to reveal if the answers given by the contestants were also in the survey results for the question in play.
Many credit unions use surveys to measure things like member satisfaction and to gauge the level of interest in a new product or service. There are several companies that specialize in developing, conducting, and analyzing these surveys.
My issue isn’t with credit unions conducting surveys. Not at all. I think it is a good practice and frankly should be done more than it is. My problem is with what happens after the survey is taken and the results are gathered.
Unfortunately, in far too many cases, nothing happens at that time. Meaning, the results are given to the credit union’s management and “put in a drawer” to collect dust or reside in a forgotten folder in the Microsoft Office suite. Sure, the results might be briefly discussed at a management or staff meeting. But many times, nothing changes. It’s “business as usual “and things keep going as if the survey was never even taken.
To conduct a membership survey and then do nothing with it is a waste of time, money, and energy. If your credit union does not intend to make adjustments, changes, and improvements based on what the survey results show, don’t bother to do the survey at all. Credit unions should also prepare themselves for the unexpected…meaning members will be brutally honest about things like service levels and convenience. Rest assured, if your service stinks, you will hear about it!
This dilemma (doing nothing with results) also exists with surveys that are conducted with your staff to gauge their level of satisfaction and morale. Too many times, employee surveys are taken and nothing ever changes. What happens is that employees get so discouraged at the fact that it remains “business as usual,” that they don’t bother to participate in the surveys…or they complete the survey so nonchalantly that getting any valid data is almost impossible.
So the lesson here is to seriously examine and analyze survey results. Implement some of the suggestions that are made (within reason, of course. I once saw a survey where the respondent suggested putting a mini-theatre in a credit union’s lobby because their wait times got a little long sometimes.)
Your credit union’s members and employees want to know that their survey answers are not falling on deaf ears. They don’t expect everything to change. But they do expect that their participation will be appreciated and respected. Show them those things and your survey results will be more meaningful than you ever thought possible. Otherwise, it’s just “business as usual.”