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Insight Center Resources

Industry knowledge to help you grow your business

Single-Wave vs. Ongoing Transactional Surveys

In the last two months, Harland Clarke Digital’s Research & Insights worked with two financial institutions to implement a comprehensive body of surveys to measure multiple aspects of their account holders’ experiences. Typically, most financial institutions just focus on one or two surveys, but in these cases, there were ten areas where each financial institution wanted to focus its efforts, including teller transactions, online and mobile banking and investments services among other things.

Initially, both clients envisioned an ongoing transactional-based approach for each survey. Ongoing transactional surveys are administered after account holders engage in a specific transaction, like opening a new account or using an ATM. From there, weekly data feeds allow Research & Insights personnel to measure account holder’s opinions and provide valuable feedback and recommendations to executives.

For some transactions, the numbers were quite high, but for others, it was the opposite. This made it very difficult to provide adequate analysis. Upon consultation with Research & Insights, it was determined that some surveys would be better and simpler as a single-wave survey, rather than an ongoing one.

Ongoing transactional surveys are most effective when the focus is on the quality of the transaction and there is variability in the quality of deliverability, such as every time an account holder calls the customer contact center or goes into the branch and speaks with a financial professional. This type of survey is beneficial, because it can provide actionable data on what is trending month-to-month, which will help monitor the quality of service delivered by multiple bank personnel.

Single-wave surveys are best when the focus is more on product features and functionality, rather than service and delivery. They are also effective when the product and service functionality is relatively static, such as the mobile banking experience, first and second mortgages and credit card services. Utilizing single-wave surveys simplifies the overall process and reduces the time and expense of an ongoing approach.

Other factors that should be taken into consideration when deciding between ongoing-transactional and single-wave surveys are:

  • Sampling strategies and length of time to obtain adequate data. If transactions are not frequent, you have the option to wait and group them in one larger single wave or administer them in smaller, ongoing distributions.
  • How quickly the survey should be distributed after the specific transaction. Teller transactions need to be sent quickly, while mortgage surveys could probably be sent within a month of the transaction.
  • Costs. Ongoing surveys likely incur higher operational costs (downloading contact lists, smaller distributions, smaller data compilations and more numerous reports, etc.).
  • Manpower. Ongoing surveys will take more administration hours.
  • Survey methodology. Paper surveys benefit from larger distributions, while online and personal telephone interviews are easier to do in small batches.