ASQ Voice of the Customer Advisory Committee

In 2019 I was asked to be the Co-Chair (consequently Chair) of this ASQ board committee and continue this year in that role. There are likely many committees within ASQ that you may not be aware of. Thus, my intent here is to tell you a little bit about what this committee does for the Society and for you as a member.

It is called Voice of the Customer, but it could easily be called Voice of the Member or Voice of the Quality Professional. The primary goal of the committee is to seek the input of and to listen to the voices of ASQ members to help shape the initiatives of geographic and technical communities. This is not a committee of one; currently the committee has two other members – Frank Murdoch (TCC Director) and Karen Maskell (Regional Director). Frank and myself have led several survey undertakings for the Technical Communities in the past few years and have helped different divisions conduct their own VoC surveys whereas Karen leads our quarterly peer group calls and mentors VoC Chairs within the Geographic Communities.

The three of us do not purport to be survey design experts, that is, we do not work for Gallup or any other big name opinion companies. Rather we have spent more than a dozen years being involved in the Society’s VoC efforts and hopefully have gained an understanding of good survey questions to ask. Plus, along with the many other VoC Chairs within ASQ, we all volunteer our collective talents versus having member units pay thousands of dollars to conduct these surveys. Recently the team helped with the construction of a U.S. election survey for the Government Division and is presently developing a Member Leader survey.

Creating a survey is not a quick activity as you need to consider the wording of the question (eliminate bias, make the questions clear), what is the aim of the question, what are valid responses, the flow of the survey, etc. Sometimes you want to ask follow-up questions to gain more understanding of their responses. For example, someone could ask “What is your favorite sports team?”, and you might then ask, “Why?” or “How avid a fan are you?” After coming up the questions, then you want to preview the survey to see how the recipient would answer the questions, that is, stepping back, do the questions make sense or did you check off the wrong box when constructing a question.

I mention this because recently I received a survey from a big-name corporation who likely paid $$$ to have a survey developed and analyzed. Here is one of the questions on the survey that caused me to cringe:

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Seems like a good question for them to ask but they only allowed ONE response versus as the question states, “select all that apply”. Someone screwed up. If they had conducted a test run, this mistake may have been caught. (Oh, and unless I can tell it is the PRICE of the lodging in the “Other” category, it seems that by the responses you are steered away from that consideration.) It seems then that sometimes even contracted survey firms make errors (I will admit I've even misspelled a word).

We all have been asked for our opinion on some topic or issue as an ASQ member. Probably one of the most important aspects when conducting these VoC surveys is to present the results to the survey population. Otherwise, the survey taker may feel that no one cared about their input. Sometimes the results of these surveys are published in newsletters, possibly on myASQ, or they will be disseminated via email to members. It is my hope that, whether you actually completed a survey or not within the Society, you see some writeup about it.

The biggest takeaway from this post is that we are listening and are trying to consider your point of view. As I have often stated, this is YOUR Society (and mine). As an illustration, if the majority of people prefer chocolate ice cream versus vanilla, it does not make much sense to serve vanilla ice cream at a dinner meeting! The point is without YOU providing your voice, then leaders are left following THEIR opinions. (I prefer Strawberry.) If you receive a survey from your division, forum, section or other ASQ entity, please let your voices be heard. I KNOW you have an opinion so please share it. We are truly better with everyone's point of view considered.

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