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​Needs Assessment

A needs assessment affords the opportunity to explore what customers really need and want vs. what you believe they need and want.  If you decided to ask “importance” questions in addition to satisfaction questions on your customer satisfaction survey, you may already have a feel for a “gap” that may exist between what your customers want and what you are currently providing them.  A needs assessment helps flesh out this “gap”.

In addition to importance rating results you may have obtained, examine additional sources of data such as customer complaints, stakeholder input, performance, or cost data showing that a product or service is under- or over-utilized.  Conduct targeted interviews or focus groups with a subset of your customers.  You may also wish to develop a needs assessment survey in conjunction with OQM to help you with this effort.  The survey may reveal that potential customers are not very familiar with, or are even totally unaware of, the product or service that you provide.
OQM has conducted numerous needs assessments with ORS service groups to help identify gaps and ideas for better aligning products and services with customer requirements.  Some examples include:
  • Worked with ORS Office of the Director (OD) to examine the use of and need for a variety of services provided by ORS (e.g., medical arts, print and digital media, NIH library, NIH events management, worksite enrichment programs, travel, transportation, parking, etc.)
  • Worked with ORF Division of Environmental Protection to assess current and proposed use and perceptions of recycling efforts at the NIH
  • Conducted and summarized focus groups conducted with ORS Division of Veterinary Resources (DVR) staff and the Animal Program Advisory Committee to investigate the need for specialized feed and bedding for animals, periodic testing of the feed and bedding, and animal nutrition consultation
  • Worked with ORS Scientific Equipment and Instrumentation Branch (SEIB) to develop a needs assessment survey to determine the need for instrument design and fabrication services among NIH intramural principal investigator.

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