Giving patrons a voice

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Currently I’m reading the book Time and Project Management Strategies for Librarians.  One chapter features a most interesting tool, Voice of the Customer.

This tool, borrowed from Six Sigma, asks stakeholders to rate a proposal both on its importance and in relation to the status quo.   First the stakeholders rate the importance on a scale of zero to three, with zero being not needed and three being critical.  Then they rate how satisfied they are with the current situation.  On a one to four scale one is the most satisfied, and four is the least satisfied.  Finally the two ratings are multiplied.  If the score is low, patrons see the proposal as unimportant and/or the current processes as fine.  If the score is high, patrons see the need as critical and/or current processes as flawed (Nelson, 2013, pp.4-5).

No tool is perfect.  Numbers alone mean little without some context.  Getting the opinion of stakeholders also means little, unless one acts upon the findings.  Still, Voice of the Customer can help us check our assumptions about user needs.


Nelson, E. (2013). Consult your stakeholders and prioritize with Six Sigma tools. In C. Smallwood, J. Kuhl, & L. Fraser (Eds.), Time and project management strategies for librarians (pp. 3-7). Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.