CASRO recently hosted an ISO Implementation Workshop at its headquarters office on Long Island, New York. During this four-day workshop, expert presenters provided guidance on preparing to be certified to the International Standards Organization (ISO) 20252 standard (Workshops also are available for ISO 26362- Access Panels).
Here, attendees share their experiences at the workshop:
Russell Marketing Research is a full service company that provides both quantitative and qualitative research services. In terms of quantitative research, we conduct online, in-person, mail, and telephone research. In terms of qualitative research, we conduct focus groups, in-depth interviews, and bulletin boards. In addition, Focus Crossroads, a division of Russell Marketing Research, has a phone center and a focus group facility.
Northwest Research Group, LLC, based in Seattle WA, is a full-service research firm that designs, manages the implementation of, analyzes, and reports on market, opinion, and social research (business, qualitative, and quantitative) for public agencies, not-for-profit organizations, and regulated industries in the United States.
Precision Opinion, based in Las Vegas, provides high-tech quantitative data collection services via phone and internet. Qualitative research is conducted at the state-of-the-art Las Vegas focus group facility Precision Focus+. Precision Opinion Phone is home to 500 CATI stations powered by Voxco and Pronto 6 Predictive Dialers.The Precision Opinion Online platform incorporates a cost effective flat fee pricing structure. On the qualitative side, the company offers three focus group suites, IDI rooms and a 48-seat theater. Precision Opinion’s clients’ include social science researchers, government agencies, Fortune 500 Companies, and research corporations.
What motivated your company to seek certification to the ISO 20252 standard?
Russell Marketing Research: Our company works extensively with government agencies and international corporations for whom ISO certification provides an added assurance of quality. Having ISO certification guarantees we have all required standards in place.
Northwest Research Group: Much of our work entails the design and implementation of large-scale or complex quantitative or a combination of qualitative and quantitative research studies that are used to inform decisions that can have significant impact on individuals and businesses. Much of the research must be able to withstand legislative or other regulatory scrutiny. We feel that having ISO certification will provide our clients with the assurance that the work we do can be used confidently for the types of decisions they make.
Precision Opinion: The process of certification will codify and standardize our commitment to providing high-quality data and insight to our clients. Certification will differentiate Precision Opinion from other research providers and give us an advantage when competing for new contracts.
Please describe some of the work you accomplished at the recent CASRO ISO Workshop.
RMR: The workshop gave us an in-depth look at the Standard. We now have a much better understanding of what we need to do in order to be ISO certified. We were able to come back to the office with the questions we need to ask in order to complete writing our Quality Manual and begin putting our new procedures in place.
NWRG: Participating in the recent CASRO ISO Workshop has enabled us to jump-start the process of developing our Research Management System and Quality Manual.
PO: Through the workshop, I achieved a much deeper understanding of the ISO Certification process, as well as the purpose and benefits of the Research Management System itself. I was able to begin writing and organizing some of the forms in addition to formulating a plan to complete the documentation when I returned.
What were some of the benefits of the ISO Workshop setting?
RMR: The ISO workshop gave us an opportunity to focus on ISO certification for four days without the distractions of normal company activities. In addition, we were able to learn from the other companies in attendance and how they have addressed some of the issues with becoming ISO certified. We also had access to knowledgeable people in CIRQ that were able to answer any questions we had or at least point us in the right directions.
NWRG: The most significant benefit of the ISO Workshop was to spend the in-depth time required, with minimal interruption, to understand the specific requirements for certification.
PO: First and foremost, sitting in the same room with CASRO and CIRQ staff for four days was immeasurably helpful. I was able to obtain instant answers to company-specific questions and get on-the-spot explanations for anything I did not understand. Conversing with peers who are in the same ISO certification situation was also very helpful.
Now that you have completed the CASRO ISO workshop, what do you think your biggest challenge will be in achieving certification?
RMR: Our initial challenges will be putting in the time needed to finish writing the Quality Manual and the procedures. However, in the long run I think the biggest challenge will be employees who are resistant to implementing certain procedures or are just content to continue doing things the way we always have.
NWRG: We have the dual benefits of having gone through the experience of becoming ISO certified (while Rebecca was part of ORC International) and starting from scratch with our procedures and processes. Our biggest challenge will be to stay on track with completing all the necessary requirements to meet our ultimate goal of becoming ISO certified by the end of Q2 2014.
PO: The biggest challenge will likely be compiling all of the necessary documentation and procedures in a way that satisfies the certification criteria without causing a major disruption to day-to-day operations.
What benefits do you believe your company will reap from implementing/enhancing a quality management system to meet the ISO standards?
RMR: It will establish consistent procedures across all projects so they are all approached and completed uniformly. It will ensure that all employees know what is needed for a project and what they need to do to make it happen.
NWRG: We feel that there will be two primary benefits from developing a quality management system to meet ISO standards: (1) an internal means to ensure that we and our subcontractors consistently follow processes and procedures that lead to the highest quality and (2) clearly differentiating the research services that we provide to the clients that we serve.
PO: I believe we will see an increase in the quality of work as well as greater time savings due to streamlining various processes. Adding the ISO 20252 certification to our unique capabilities will give Precision a leg up on most of the competitors within the marketplace.
How do you think clients will view the ISO credential and how do you think it will benefit your company in the marketplace?
RMR: I believe that most clients, if not all, will see ISO certification as a benefit to using us. Clients will be assured of the quality of research we provide them, and we expect this to lead to new clients and more projects.
NWRG: Our clients have a clear need for high-quality research. At the same time, many do not have the in-depth knowledge of all aspects of the research process and what is entailed to ensure quality. Having ISO credentials that are clearly documented and can be made available to clients upon request will make it easier for them to evaluate the quality of the research services that NWRG provides both during the initial selection process and when a project is completed.
PO: Certification will send the message to current and potential clients that Precision Opinion has made a commitment to quality and has the system in place to not only maintain that quality but continually find ways to improve. As such, I believe Precision Opinion will position itself to win bids on new work as well as land crucial repeat business.