How to (Effectively) Gather Feedback About Your Financial Institution

Posted by Alexa Audet on Sep 15, 2020 4:30:00 PM

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You’ve seen them -- those “Tell Us How We Did” emails you get after setting up an account or calling a service representative. The language practically begs you (“It only takes five minutes!”) to participate because the company knows that most people won’t take the time. Admittedly, I tend to only complete customer feedback surveys when I’ve had an exceptional experience or an exceptionally awful one. And I know I’m not alone.

Financial institutions have grappled with this for years -- how do you gather data about your account holders’ experience that is reliable and helpful, without leaving them annoyed? It’s an important pursuit, as customer feedback can shed light on issues or opportunities within your business that can be difficult to see from the inside. Studies have shown that surveying account holders can lead to increased loyalty and profitability.

In developing a mechanism for gathering useful feedback, financial institutions must be thoughtful about their approach, provide easy, non-invasive ways to gather feedback, and develop a feedback loop to analyze and implement customer input. Here are some tips on gathering user feedback to better serve your account holders (in ways that won’t get on their nerves).

 

Know What Kind of Feedback You are Looking for

Before you go drafting survey questions or building a form, consider what you want to gather feedback on. Don’t waste your customers’ (and your) time by soliciting feedback that won’t be useful. Do you want to gather open-ended feedback, including thoughts, suggestions, and complaints? For this, the design may be as basic as a comment box asking, “Have suggestions on how we can improve? Let us know.” Do you want to gather general sentiment on an experience? This could be a question like, “Did our service meet your expectations today?” with a simple yes or no answer. Or you may want to gather much more specific information.

Regardless, thinking through this will drive the development of questions, your feedback tool, and the context in which it will live, so it’s important to assess beforehand.

 

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Consider How Feedback Will be Used

Gathering feedback is only helpful if it leads to change. If you know that a particular service or function within your institution cannot be changed (due to cost, security reasons, or some other restriction), don’t bother asking how it can be improved.

Think ahead about what kind of data you may receive, how you will organize it, and eventually use it to report to those in your institution who need to hear it. For example, open-ended questions can provide ideas or suggestions your institution may not have considered but can be a mess to organize on the back end as they often include long-winded rants covering various topics. If this is your approach, make sure you have a staff member with time to thoroughly read the responses and synthesize them for others. 

The same goes for the format. Paper comment forms in branches may be easy enough for the customer, but remember that it often requires transcribing illegible cursive or fragmented bullet points. For this reason, we generally recommend soliciting feedback digitally (there are a few analog exceptions, noted in the section below).

Finally, create a plan for how to get the information you’ve received out to those who can make the necessary change. For example, if multiple responses note that their mobile banking app is malfunctioning, those collecting responses need to have a way of getting that information to the development team. 

 

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Thoughtfully Develop Your Feedback Mechanism

As mentioned, the largest barrier to providing feedback is time. People are busy. To hear from your account holders, focus on making the process as quick and straightforward as possible. Always make providing input optional and easy to exit out of so that it’s not interrupting a user’s experience, and consider offering incentives for their time. Our partners at HubSpot have plenty of ideas on how to do this, but here are some of our favorites:

 

  • Build one-question surveys into your mobile app or website. Rather than asking your account holders to take an extra step to provide feedback, consider adding one-question surveys into pages on your website or mobile app. These can be added seamlessly into the scroll of an app, or as a pop-up on your website.
  • Place a customer feedback kiosk in your branch locations. These have become popular for offering a single sentiment question with a yes or no answer, or even a happy or sad emoji face to choose from, to let the institution know about your experience on your way out.
  • Use the data you already have. You’d be surprised how much you can learn about your account holders by looking at your data. By exploring your institution’s call center logs, live chat transcripts, website analytics, and social media channels, you can discover trends around common issues, general public sentiment, and where people are most likely to turn away from your website.
  • Send a follow-up email. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, this type of survey can often be ignored. However, you may have success by embedding the first (and most valuable) question into the email. If people aren’t required to move to a different page to answer a survey question, they’ll be more likely to participate.
  • Send an SMS survey. SMS text messages tend to have higher open rates than email and may be more effective in gathering responses about an experience.
  • Conduct customer interviews. For a more thorough investigation of what your institution is doing right and what it can improve upon, conduct in-depth customer interviews with those who’ve been members for a lengthy amount of time, or who make use of several of your services. These are best done in person or over the phone.
  • Offer incentives for feedback. Recognize that people are taking time out of their day to help your business.
  • Offer incentives for providing feedback such as promotions, entrance into a drawing for a prize, or gift cards.

For more insights into your market space, you can use the data from your institution. You may find out the exact target market you have been looking to bring your products to. If you find out that you need some help developing the right kind of campaigns from your data and analytics, PRIME is here to help you meet your goals and grow your business. 

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