Surveyed to Death

New ways to assess all-important VOC

In contemplating the focus of this month’s issue—customer satisfaction and experience—I attempted to tally the number of survey invitations I receive in any given week: at least three for coffee and lunch spots, at least one from a clothing retailer (more, if I actually buy something), one or more from an association I belong to, a couple from magazines I subscribe to, one from a hotel or trip purchase, one over the phone ("If you’d be willing to take a short survey following this call, stay on the line") and one from any other store or restaurant. On average, it’s probably 10 per week. And that’s being conservative.

It’s easy to see then why people start to duck the constant assault of surveys thrust upon them, and that, of course, affects response rates and the integrity of the results.

Yet, voice of the customer (VOC) is arguably more important than ever in this age of speed-to-market, competition and innovation. So, how do you get to the very core, the deepest of customer preferences and desires? What about customer delight? Is it even attainable anymore?

This month’s cover story delves into assessing the strengths and weaknesses of various kinds of VOC collection, and ways to piece together a clearer picture of customer preference. "Hearing Aids," includes tips on methods for making VOC collection accurate and telling.  

The article, "Making Contact," details one organization’s approach to thwarting biased or inaccurate survey data by developing a customer touch point business model that provides a systematic way to analyze all points of customer interaction throughout the relationship for impact and performance. It then correlates these customer interactions to business performance.

Reviewing this month’s collection of articles also got me thinking about a survey I lean heavily on: the QP annual readership survey. For those of you who took the time to respond a few months back, thank you, but allow me to apologize. It’s too long, and there are areas that could be streamlined. I promise to tighten it up a whole bunch for the next go around. And, regardless, I’ll act on the data year round. Continuous improvement is a journey, right?

Finally, reaction to the digital edition of QP was overwhelmingly positive, and I couldn’t be happier! (The digital version will always be available at www.qualityprogress.com and featured in your issue of QPLive). We fielded enough questions, however, that I’d like to clarify: No other benefits change. The digital QP does not replace anything, so if you receive the print edition of QP with your membership, you will continue to, unless you ask us to change your preferences. You may do so by emailing help@asq.org.

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders

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