Bank Employee and Customer/Member Focus Groups 

 

Sales Quality Group has conducted focus groups for retail banks and credit unions and investment sales programs, plus an occasional insurance company or brokerage firm. Focus groups can provide critical qualitative data on a whole host of products and services.

How a Focus Group Works: Focus groups are the classic qualitative research tool.  Typically, a group of about 10-12 participants gather in a conference room setting to participate in a discussion led by an experienced professional moderator.  The participants are selected based on predetermined demographic or other criteria.  The moderator has been thoroughly briefed by the client and works from a fairly detailed discussion outline prepared in conjunction with the client.  Retail consumers are typically paid $50 to $100 for participating in a two hour session, while business or professional people may receive as much as $100-$300 or more.

In focus groups, participants talk about their attitudes, opinions and impressions of the information, products and/or services presented for their review.  Focus group sessions are often held in a facility with one-way mirror, allowing client observers to watch.  The observers not only learn from watching these sessions, but they can also participate indirectly by providing input and direction to the moderator during pre-planned breaks.  Audio and video recordings are made of each group to provide a record of the discussion.  These recordings are used to help prepare a report on the session.  Video recordings can be edited into a brief overview of the highlights of the session, which would then be distributed to interested parties who were not able to attend the focus group session themselves.

The principal limitation of a focus group is that they only deal with the attitudes and opinions of a small group of people. While the interaction among the group participants can provide the sponsor with a great deal of insight into consumer behavior, it is important to note that group consensus is not the way that real life purchasing decisions are made.  Many times quantitative research, such as a mystery shopping study or a customer survey, is conducted to follow up on the information collected during focus group sessions.

Focus groups tends to be relatively expensive on a per participant basis, but they do provide the client with unique insight into the consumer’s awareness of a product or service, as well as their attitude toward, opinion of, and expectations for the product, service or process.  Many financial services industry executives consider focus groups to be the single best way to test the design of a new product or service before its launch (or to revise a current product or service).

Timing and Pricing: The turn-around time from concept development to the final written report for a series of focus groups is typically 6 weeks.  Costs vary based on a number of factors, but generally run in the $5,500 to $7,500 range depending on logistics and the number of sessions desired.

If you would like additional information on Sales Quality Groupís Focus Group Studies, please contact Jim Rensel at (480) 967-7500 or email Bill Gutkowski or Valentina Zeff.

 

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