ETC Institute has been helping local governments use community surveys as a guiding force for setting community priorities and improving organizational effectiveness for more than three decades.
Our ability to help organizations succeed is based on an approach that adheres to the following:
- Continuity. ETC Institute understands the importance of monitoring residents’ perceptions and how they change over time in the City’s planning process. We intend to implement a research process that will allow data from previous surveys to be used as benchmarks for assessing current and future performance. This will involve using many of the same questions and response choices from previous surveys to ensure that the data is comparable. It will also involve a review of the goals and objectives of the survey research to ensure that the research process is designed to meet these objectives.
- Strategic Value. In order for survey research to serve as a powerful tool for decision-making, community leaders must see value in the results. Our approach is designed to ensure that the information gathered meets the informational needs of decision-makers in order to encourage community leaders to use the survey data as part of their decision-making process. If the survey results have strategic value, they will inherently become part of the process for setting short- and long-term priorities for the City. For example, a review of the City of Fort Worth’s strategic plan by ETC Institute led to the creation of a series of questions that now link the City’s annual citizen survey with the City’s strategic plan. In addition to using the results of their annual citizen survey, the City of Fort Worth also used the data to help set budgetary priorities.
- Performance Measurement. Since the results of the survey will be used to help guide City decisions, the survey instrument and data analysis methodology will be designed in a manner that generates objective performance measurements. The survey will be designed to provide objective feedback for the City so that departmental managers can understand the needs of citizens and improve public infrastructure. ETC Institute will work with the City to refine existing performance indices and develop new performance indices that allow City leaders to objectively assess the change in their performance from previous surveys.
Our ability to combine our skills in customer satisfaction research with our understanding of local government issues makes our team ideally qualified for this project.
Our Philosophy Regarding Customer Expectations and Customer Satisfaction
Our internal philosophy about customer expectations and customer satisfaction is fairly simple. We believe that we must set the example for customer service ourselves if we are going to give advice about customer satisfaction to others.
With regard to our external philosophy about customer expectations and customer satisfaction, we believe that customer satisfaction is a function of both (1) expectations and (2) quality. A person with very low expectations may be very satisfied with a mediocre product. On the other hand, a person with very high expectations may be disappointed in a product that most people would like.
There are two ways to increase customer satisfaction: (1) increase the quality of service or (2) lower expectations. Historically, cities have only pursued the first strategy. In order to know which strategy is really the best course of action to pursue, cities will need to know what its residents expect. The results of this study will provide data that our team will use to help cities determine the best way to manage customer expectations and increase overall satisfaction with city services.