This Article first appeared in the May 2001 issue of the Callahan
In the old RCA
commercials for the first ''high fidelity'' record players,
a dog was pictured sitting next to the speaker listening intently
to his master's voice. Credit unions have long honored the vision
of listening to the member's voice, but only recently has technology
allowed this to be a-real time experience.
In this era
of change, listening becomes a critical business process. One company
CEO expressed it best: ''Real-time feedback from customers is
the most incredible quality control tool. It is live hot data.''
data was time consuming and expensive before the Internet era. Mail
surveys take anywhere from 30-90 days to create, mail and tabulate
responses. The report analysis and writing can take another 30-60
days. Six months after a project starts, management begins responding
to the information. Focus groups, a second alternative, are expensive,
often of small sample size, and generally limited to few topics.
But the Internet offers a flexible, fast and cost-effective medium
for collecting members' opinions and assessments. Moreover the ''voice''
that is speaking is often straight from the shoulder, without any
inhibitions. In the words of the authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto,
the natural human voice is the language of business. Nowhere is
that voice clearer than in Internet communications.
To develop this
Internet capability for ''listening'' more effectively,
a group of credit unions decided, in February, to work together
to ''survey'' their online members' attitudes and experiences
with their credit union's Website.
The group of
22 credit unions agreed to conduct surveys every other month. The
advantage of this survey consortium was that each credit union could
draw upon others' experiences in all phases of the process. From
topic selection, survey design and data collection, through interpretation
and action, a group dialogue shapes each step.
purpose was short cycles of learning about Web activity followed
by action followed by further surveys. The first topic was members'
satisfaction with the navigation, content, design and speed of their
credit union's Website.
The survey was
presented on the Website via a pop-up window or a link. After one
week, or approximately 1,000 responses per credit union, the survey
was taken down. All of the data were tabulated and both individual
and group results were sent to each of the credit unions.
to this article appeared as part of the September 3, 2001 weekly
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