Case Study – Persona Research and Development

The need for this study was to develop broad, psychographic personas that represented the four foundational member segments of Salal Credit Union's customer base. Most of what the business lines knew about their customers was anecdotal at best, and their own personal assumptions at worst.
Qualitative (anecdotal stories and member feedback from NPS surveys) as well as quantitative (Experian purchased data and primary owned) data were used to answer the main questions Salal had about its members.
- What were they like, demographically?
- What were the main drivers for their decision making?
- How did they specifically view sustainable business practices?
- How did they use technology?
- How should we position our messaging and sales guides when communicating with them?
These personas were developed from the subsequent user research, and used to guide business decision making and strategy pivots. They were also released for access to every employee in the organization, not only to challenge current assumptions about our members (which were that all of our members were in their 60's, white, and working in healthcare), but to give employees a tangible face on the idea of "our members" in order to improve member interactions. Finally, these personas were used by my design team and the marketing team at large to personalize creative, customize product and web experiences, and inform recommendations made to business lines on how to improve existing processes to meet member needs.
New personas were launched to employees in early 2020, as well as guidelines for usage. In the resulting timeframe:
NPS relationship score increased 7 points over two years (2020-2022).
NPS Detractor (indicative of dissatisfaction) percentage consistently dropped 3% over 2 years. (2020-2022)
Average positive sentiment increased 20% in 2022
Market share for classically hard to reach/disengaged 1-product customers (represented by 2 out of 4 personas) increased 5% in 2022, due to targeted messaging and deeper understanding of customer needs.