What our genealogy customers want

We use Qualtrics survey software (which we really like) and have a panel of customers who have agreed to answer survey questions every month. We appreciate the customers who are willing to take time to give us their opinions. We pay a great deal of attention to the feedback. We adjust our work and investment priorities based on what our customers tell us.

Our last survey had 15 questions. We received answers from 1,041 customers. Here are some interesting facts:

  • Half of our customers like to our full newsletter articles in the emails we send out; but half would prefer to see only a portion and then click through to the web site to see the rest if they are interested. (It’s not easy to decide what to do when our customers are split 50/50!)
  • Half of our customers would like a daily email about our new databases. (We offer databases that are free for 10 days.) Years ago, when I was at Ancestry.com, we had the same response: half of our customers wanted a daily email, and half wanted a weekly.
  • The top six states where our customers want more databases are New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Illinois and Massachussetts. These were followed by Missouri, Kentucky, and Indiana. The top three Canadian provinces are Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.
  • 84% of our customers feel that genealogical and historical societies are important or very important to their family history research!
  • 64% of our customers already belong to at least one genealogical society. 11% belong to “five or more” societies!
  • 70% of those who do not currently belong to a genealogy society would like to join one.
  • Only 5% of our customers are dissatisfied with our browsable census images collection, even though we don’t have full text searching. (It appears that our customers are satisfied with our ongoing efforts to put more data online, even when it is not exactly what they eventually hope we will provide.)
  • We received hundreds of customer testimonials, with many specific examples of how people have found ancestors in our pedigree collections, newspapers, and other databases.
  • Based on these survey results, our management team met and decided the following:

    1. We want to find and hire a genealogist in each of these states and provinces who are willing to help us to find more local databases for our web site. (If you live in our of our top states or provinces and are interested in earning some part-time income helping us find new databases for your state/region, please call World Vital Records at 888-377-0588 and ask for Amy Rhoads, or send me an email using the “Contact Me” link on my blog.

    2. We would like to help our 325,000 monthly visitors and our 10,000+ new daily users of our Facebook apps to find and join a genealogy society. Societies play a very important role in organizing local information and spreading knowledge about how to properly research genealogical sources. I have been to many society meetings and conferences over the years and I am always impressed by the depth of knowledge that society leaders have. There have been concerns for many years about societies slowly losing membership and trying to find sources of revenue and leadership to keep them around.

    Dave Rencher, from the LDS Church Family History Department, spoke at the 2007 FGS conference about how societies could become more virtual and attract members and leaders from outside their own geographic region. I found a powerpoint Dave used in 2005 to share a similar message.

    At World Vital Records, we would like to help societies by encouraging our customers and site visitors to join and support and get involved with societies.

    We are creating a program that can help societies attract more members by providing them with free traffic and leads (from our social networking sites) and benefits/incentives for their members, such as discounts on genealogy subscriptions and software. We have a separate opportunity to help societies generate revenue from some of the indexes, databases, and publications that they may have created in the past.

    For membership help, please contact Carin Green.
    For content partnerships (a source of revenue), please contact Yvette Arts.

    Both can be reached at our main toll-free number: 888-377-0588
    For societies outside of the U.S., please call 1-801-377-0588

    Soon we will be creating new Customer Panels for our We’re Related App on Facebook (it lets you connect with relatives, build a family tree, and share family photos and news) and also for our FamilyLink.com social network for genealogists.

    If you are a genealogist, please feel free to comment on this blog post and provide whatever feedback you think will help us provide better products and services to you. Please help us design the future of family history research!

3 Comments

  1. David

    “(It’s not easy to decide what to do when our customers are split 50/50!)”

    Can’t you just let the user decide and send out a customized email as often as they want?

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