FAQ’s

  1. Why is trending important?
  2. How can peer comparisons add perspective and understanding to our findings?
  3. How much of the research can we customize?
  4. How do you recommend we use the research?
  5. Can we mail more surveys and what is the value of doing so?
  6. Are we committed to future research by participating?
  7. How long does the process take?
  8. What is your response rate?
  9. How can this research pay for itself?
  10. If we have an MCIF system, do we really need this research?
  11. Can you provide cross-tabulations of the data?
  12. Can you provide a live presentation to our Board and/or staff?
  13. Can you provide a digital format for our analysis, editing, and/or digital projector presentation?
  14. What makes your employee research unique?
  15. How can your employee studies be “the most actionable research we’ve ever conducted?”
  16. What is your recommended frequency for the research?
  17. What is Member Research’s credit union experience?
  18. What is a Rate Holding Agreement?
  19. What is your “no surprises” philosophy?
  20. What services do you provide?
  21. What Online Research do you offer?

1. Why is trending important?

A single research study may provide valuable information but, in many cases, a series of studies provides trending that allows for much more powerful insights. The key is not where you are at any given time but in what direction you are moving and only a trended study, conducted over time, can give you that information.


2. How can peer comparisons add perspective and understanding to our findings?

Peer comparisons are like the classroom curve providing insights to your own data which would be otherwise unavailable. For example, if 62% of your members stated that your Quality of Service was “Excellent” and/or “Very Good,” would you know if that was a satisfactory result?

In knowing that the industry averages approximately 50%, you can see that the credit union is at, or above, the peer group. What’s more, peer data provides critical insights when trended over time. For example, if a credit union’s results are dropping over time and no peer averages are provided, the credit union might understandably see this as an area needing correction. However, if industry trends are provided and that data shows that the industry as a whole is dropping faster than the credit union, then comparatively, the credit union is improving, and no corrective action is required.

Only through peer data and trending is this vital insight available.


3. How much of the research can we customize?

Member Research offers both standardized and completely customized programs, as well as flexible formats that strike a balance between the two. On our standard programs, you gain the benefits of trending and peer comparisons noted above. However, in such cases where peer data is not of interest because the question itself is not of value to the credit union, we are happy to replace that with a custom question of your choosing. However, due to programming and the creative development required, there may be additional fees for customization.


4. How do you recommend we use the research?

We have found that the most successful implementation of the research is a very simple cycle.

    1. Develop the research with action and implementation in mind (this is Member Research’s focus on each and every project).
    2. Upon receiving the research results, share the data with everyone who may have a vested interest in improvement (e.g. senior management, the Board, managers, supervisors, and front-line staff).
    3. Involve everyone in the improvement process. The Board and senior management certainly are involved on nearly all levels. You may wish to involve departments and the staff in areas that pertain to them (e.g. loan department for loan information, tellers for teller lines and teller transactions, etc.).
    4. Reward results. We do suggest incentives be provided whenever possible and then recognize accomplishments with success and celebration along the way.

And then repeat the cycle… do research again to see if, in fact, improvement has been achieved.


5. Can we mail more surveys and what is the value of doing so?

Most of our standard programs have recommended mailing quantities. These are, however, flexible and multiple tools are used to increase response rate, including a pre-postcard mailing, additional surveys, sweepstakes, a post-survey mailing, and/or additional mailings.

Additional surveys can be mailed, especially if segments wish to be explored (in which case a minimum of 1,000 extra surveys is strongly recommended); however, there are diminishing returns with extensive surveying.

Our focus at Member Research is to provide value in tune with your budget. We are as concerned about you making the best use of your budget as you are, and would not recommend over-surveying if little additional benefit is to be accomplished.


6. Are we committed to future research by participating?

No, although Member Research charges a start-up fee - to cover the initial set-up and programming - the credit union is in no way obligated to repeat the survey at anytime in the future. Should you wish to do so, however, you would gain the advantage of trending and peer analysis for future research. We retain all research data so that if you wish to come back in the future, we will still have that data and will be able to trend new and past results.

The one exception to the optional trending is if you wish to reduce pricing with a Rate Holding Agreement, in which case you would effectively guarantee your future participation in exchange for a reduced rate. In all cases, our focus at Member Research is to continue to add and provide value to each of our credit union clients so that they are eager to repeat the program, and gain further value from future insights. As such, over 90% of our general Member Research clients have repeated the survey without any requirements to do so.


7. How long does the process take?

The General Member Survey requires the longest process, taking effectively 12 weeks from mail date to completed report.  Should you choose to participate with an off-track schedule, or have special requirements, please contact us and we may be able to reduce the time required, or deliver an advance PDF copy to you.

On other surveys, including our employee studies, non-member surveys, telephone surveys, Internet surveys, etc, the time lines are significantly shorter and in some cases can be turned around within a matter of weeks or days depending on your requirements.


8. What is your response rate?

In our single-wave surveys, the response rate for our four-page General Member Survey is roughly 15% to 20%. This can be increased with many of the response-improving efforts mentioned in Question 5 above, and may exceed 40% with a double mailing. Response rates for our transaction (focus) studies, exceed 25% typically, employee surveys if implemented as we suggest, can exceed 80% and even 90% response.


9. How can this research pay for itself?

Where do we begin? Understanding your members’ perceptions can help you take action that you wouldn’t have otherwise known about, and/or prevent you from taking actions that you think are appropriate but not warranted. In learning why members do business elsewhere, you can take one of the actionable reasons, correct or adjust your offering to members so that you give your members reasons to keep your business at the credit union. By gaining new accounts in nearly any area, you can easily and quickly pay for research that could cost you less than the price of a postage stamp per member. In new and existing product testing you can learn what your members needs and wants are in order to act accordingly.

Payback also comes in the form of focused-strategic planning and having the Board and management team all “on the same page.”

A Member Research closed account survey and/or focus/transaction survey may identify problem areas and service quality that, if corrected, can very quickly allow fast payback for your research investment.

Member Research’s programs are all designed with action and ROI in mind. The only why we can ensure that you don’t get results from the research is if the research becomes a “door stop,” “book end” or a “boat anchor” and is not used. Our reader-friendly reporting style, accessibility by phone or consultation, and on-site presentations all work to prevent this. As such, if you do read, share and act upon our research, you will be hard-pressed not to gain value far exceeding your investment.


10. If we have an MCIF system, do we really need this research?

MCIF systems are highly valuable, highly recommendable research tools that focus on transaction history and past behavior. As such, they tell you what members have done and provide tools for account analysis, they do not, however, tell you “why.” Member Research offers insight into why members do business elsewhere, why they haven’t joined the credit union, and how they feel or act the way they do.

Perception MCIF studies can provide excellent complements to each other, and serve leading and lagging functions respectively. Moreover, if you choose to implement a tracked survey from Member Research, we can provide standard reporting in an actionable format but also provide ASCII, Excel or other data formatted of the actual respondents to the survey for MCIF analysis, mapping, filing and modeling. Please e-mail or call us for more information on this valuable, analytical approach that combines two research formats into one extremely powerful research tool.


11. Can you provide cross-tabulations of the data?

Yes, as noted earlier, Member Research retains all client’s information confidentially in paper and digital backups.

As such, we can provide cross-tabs on current or past research information or further analysis at any time.


12. Can you provide a live presentation to our Board and/or staff?

As noted above, you may wish to bring in one of Member Research’s experienced executives to deliver an analysis and results presentation. In these programs, our goal is to work with you in a workshop-like format to make your own insights and create your own priorities. This enables you to quickly identify the key areas that need to be addressed as a group, and then to also quickly reach consensus and help go forward with priorities as a result of the meeting. We understand that even though we strive to make our program stream-lined and the results simple to use and read, you can’t act on all the data you receive. By bringing us in, we can help you focus and target those areas of most critical action.


13. Can you provide a digital format for our analysis, editing, and/or digital projector presentation?

Yes, Member Research can provide your research report in many formats. Contact Member Research for additional pricing and information on any of these requested formats.


14. What makes your Employee Research unique?

Member Research implements two distinct employee surveys that may be combined for greater insights. First, the Employee Job Satisfaction Survey was originally developed by professors at the University of South Florida and was tested with over ten thousand implementations with hundreds industries throughout the country. Member Research has obtained the rights to use this survey with credit unions. The program analyzes nine distinct facets of job satisfaction and employs Member Research’s unique benefits of clear, concise reporting.

The Employee Perception Comparison Study, the second of the two employee surveys, is designed to be implemented as a concurrent program with a General Member Survey. In the General Member Survey, members are asked their perceptions of service quality and where and why they are doing business. The Employee Perception Comparison Study also asks employees what the staff thinks about service quality and the same issues and questions asked in the member survey, what the employees think the members think, as well as provides data in the same report as the member survey as to what the members actually think for the three-way analysis. When combined, the two programs provide a thorough overview of employee issues, satisfaction, morale and their understanding of the membership and service issues to create a highly actionable report that can be acted upon quickly for fast results.


15. How can your employee studies be “the most actionable research we’ve ever conducted?”

In implementing our Employee Perception Comparison Survey with 26 credit unions concurrently a couple of years ago, we were surprised to discover how powerful it was when the employees were well connected and in-tune with the member perceptions. In the few instances in which the employees both thought highly of service quality and/or were accurate in their assessment of why members went elsewhere, as compared to the members’ perceptions overall, results were up to 10% higher than in those credit unions in which the staff was not well in-tune with members’ perceptions.


16. What is your recommended frequency for the research?

Most of our larger credit union clients conduct their General Member Survey twice per year. If the program is to be used merely as a red flag and indicator of problem areas, then perhaps annually is sufficient. However, to gain maximum value and to measure the success of efforts to improve and grow, then a bi-annual service is much more meaningful in that it gives you a more frequent read on the pulse of your membership.

We suggest Transaction Studies to be conducted either monthly or quarterly. Employee Studies we suggest conducting annually. We recommend that Closed Account Studies take the form of an initial audit of members who have closed accounts within the past specified period of time, usually six months or so, to find whether or not there are actionable steps that can be taken to minimize lost accounts in the future. If the reason members are leaving are not actionable, further surveying is not warranted. Should actionable information be discovered (such as poor service in the loan department or other service quality issues), then a transaction study may be implemented on a monthly and/or quarterly basis to help “stop the leak.”


17. What is Member Research’s credit union experience?

Member Research was born out of the needs of a few Southern California credit unions, and Lockheed Federal Credit Union in particular, who spent nearly $30,000 on a research project that was offered in an unreadable, complex, multi-hundred page document. Impressive… but actionably useless.

Cork Platts, founder of Member Research, and the then marketing consultant to national and international clients of all sizes, and marketing consultant to Lockheed Federal Credit Union at the time, thought there had to be a better way. Along with his team, he spent two years in research and development, consulting with credit unions throughout the country and focus group surveys, phone research, lobby polls, and meetings with CU managers, executives and marketing people from all across the country to develop and design the initial General Member Survey.

In 1988, the Peer Comparative Trend Survey was implemented with the focus on a report that was easy to read, a process that was easy to implement and information that was meaningful and actionable at all levels within the organization. That same philosophy has carried through on all our programs, and Member Research has remained dedicated to the service and information needs of credit unions throughout the country. Member Research has delivered thousands of research reports for hundreds of credit unions nationwide.


18. What is a Rate Holding Agreement?

Although Member Research does not require a credit union to participate more than once in any of its programs, we do offer the opportunity to lock-in current rates and potentially gain additional benefits through an extended Rate Holding Agreement. Such an agreement enables credit unions to guarantee the original price paid for the program for up to three years in exchange for a commitment from Member Research to no price increase regardless of added costs that Member Research might incur (postage, processing, tabulation, etc.).


19. What is your “no surprises” philosophy?

Member Research believes in up-front pricing and clearly stating and exceeding expectations. Our goal at all times is to operate to our client’s satisfaction with “no surprises” that might leave a negative impression and to always work to continue a positive partnering relationship. As you know, surprises in business tend to be negative. Our goal at Member Research is to create a positive experience both before, during the research process, and long after the research is completed.


20. What services do you provide?

The following is a list of services:

      • General Member Surveys
      • Employee Perception Comparison Surveys
      • Employee Job Satisfaction Surveys
      • Non-Member Surveys
      • Phone Surveys
      • Focus Groups
      • Pulse Transaction Surveys
      • Online Surveys
      • Tabulation Services
      • Cross-Tabulation Services
      • Custom Research

21. What Online Research do you offer?

Pulse Online is specifically designed to provide online research that is both customizable and affordable. Credit unions can now maximize limited research dollars with cost-effective, customizable options that allow them to choose only the options that meet their needs. With Member Research’s hallmark ease of use: you choose the options that meet your specific needs, we develop the program jointly  to your satisfaction, you sign off, and we do the rest.