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Member and Customer Satisfaction Surveyed

A few readers of this magazine may recall a similar SN headline appearing over a decade ago. It was, in fact, in the January 1991 issue of Standardization News when an article summarized the findings of the first satisfaction survey ASTM conducted through The Gallup Organization.

In order once again to take the “pulse” on how the Society is doing, a follow-up Gallup study was completed last year. The same method as before was used—the telephone interview.

Through a random sample of members and customers drawn from ASTM’s databases, 500 members were called in the 2001 survey. Among them, 350 were participating members (those on technical committees) and 150 were informational members (those not participating on technical committees). A total of 400 non-member customers also were queried.

High Levels of Satisfaction

The key findings indicate that 83% of ASTM members are highly satisfied with the overall products and services they receive from ASTM. More than two-thirds of the respondents feel that ASTM’s current mix of products and services meet their needs, with very few indicating the need for additional offerings. Staff services supporting committee activities, such as staff managers, received high marks.

The findings from the customer aspect of the study closely mirror the member results. ASTM’s customer base expressed strong overall satisfaction with ASTM, with 85% of those surveyed granting a high level of approval. Within the sample of customers who placed an order from ASTM in the last year, there was a high level of satisfaction across the board in various aspects of the customer service relationship. Approximately 90% of customers in this sample agreed that overall customer service is excellent.

Membership Closely Tied to Career Initiatives

When surveyed on the primary reasons why they became ASTM members, most of respondents indicated that membership was “job related and employer encouraged,” or that they initiated membership because of their “interest in standards.”

When polled on the reasons for retaining their membership, most respondents said that membership helps them to “stay abreast of industry trends.” Other reasons noted for maintaining membership in ASTM were the ability to “provide input to technical standards,” and “professional contacts/networking.”

Market Relevance of ASTM Standards

The study also gathered data on the criticality and industry use of standards. An overwhelming amount of respondents (95%) indicated that standards are critical to their respective industries. Almost three quarters of ASTM members use other standards as well as ASTM.

The reasons most commonly cited for why ASTM standards are critical to meeting corporate objectives are their use as guidelines and benchmarks, followed by customer requirements, quality, and regulatory related requirements. The most common ways in which ASTM standards are used were as reference tools, for testing or quality control, and as part of contractual specifications.

When asked specifically about the global nature of today’s market, the vast majority of members surveyed indicated that utilization of ASTM standards remains strong. About one quarter indicated that the use of ASTM standards is growing. The primary driver cited for the global use of ASTM standards is their industry-wide use.

Similar to the member results, almost three-quarters of all non-member customers surveyed indicated that ASTM was the primary standard their organization used, citing industry acceptance or recognition as the most common reason.

The ASTM Web Site

From a variety of questions asked about the functionality and use of the ASTM Web site, we learned that both members and customers find the site to be a useful tool in carrying out committee activity as well as for the acquisition of ASTM documents.

Members enthusiastically support the electronic distribution of committee information and felt that the quality of the electronic committee services on the Web site is high, most notably electronic minutes, balloting, and meeting information.

Customers find the Web site fast, efficient, easy-to-use, and convenient. They appreciate most the easy access to materials on the ASTM Web site and online ordering. Almost all customers prefer having ASTM standards available on the ASTM Web site.

Big-Picture Snapshot

The Gallup survey provides useful information on how ASTM’s key constituents perceive and value their relationship with the organization. Jim Thomas, ASTM International president, explains. “The objective of the survey was to determine if ASTM is offering its members and customers what they need and want, and we have the answers to those very important questions. We are proud that the quality of the member and customer experience in ASTM is high, and that ASTM standards meet the needs of the market. At the same time, we recognize that the dynamic nature of the global marketplace is causing the needs of our members and customers to be in constant motion. This study provides a springboard for strategic planning and the stimulus for deeper self examination.” //

A Note of Thanks

ASTM extends its appreciation to the 900 individuals who participated in the study for their willingness to share their thoughts on the Society.

Copyright 2002, ASTM