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How to Improve the Exit Survey

Dave Will
February 26, 2021

I've been seeing a ton of questions online recently about how to improve the effectiveness and response rate of an exit survey after a member lapses.

When I see these, it makes me scratch my head. Why wouldn't we focus on winning them back while also finding out more from the member? Otherwise, we're just presuming their status as a lapsed member is the end of the road and only sending them a survey asking them questions.

Most organizations try to get members to renew by sending out a series of renewal reminders and broadcasts. Then finally after we can't get them to renew, maybe an exit survey to dissect the corpse.

Would a conversational approach to engagement work better to dig deeper into the reason for the lapse?

When our clients start a conversation with lapsed members by asking, "Did you know your membership expired?", would you believe 53% of lapsed members on average didn't even know their membership had lapsed?!?

Even after a dozen broadcast email reminders, they weren't aware... but they answered this question because it's easy. Which then gives us the opportunity to understand why they're hesitating to renew, and address it right there and then. So we're not only asking them WHY but we're opening the door for conversation with the attempt to get them to rejoin.

A recent client showed us that they were able to renew 45% of the lapsed members that had no idea their membership had lapsed, compared to 7% win-back on those who said they did know their membership had lapsed. They did this by engaging them in conversation.

Surveys don't spark a conversation. Let's focus on the win-back. Not the corpse.

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