SAN ANTONIO (October 28, 2015) -- A smiling barista hands out cups of coffee to an early morning crowd. A youth sports coach teaches kids how to dribble a basketball. A counselor wipes the tears off a surviving family member who recently lost their Soldier. An employee helps another co-worker in meeting an important deadline.
These are just a few examples of how employees of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command interact with the Army.
"The people of IMCOM touch the lives of every soldier, family member and civilian on every installation every day," said IMCOM Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Hartless. "No other command can say that."
"We want to make each and every one of those contacts a positive one," he continued.
For members of the G9 Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation directorate, quality customer service delivery starts in the employee onboarding process. Employees must complete a mandatory training called "Operation Excellence," a course run by the College of Installation Management's School of Service Culture.
During the training, employees learn the directorate's customer service model and then practice delivery techniques in classroom exercises. Each class then culminates with employees making a pledge to choose excellence in serving customers. This pledge is important as most MWR employees interact with external customers on a daily basis and often serve as the faces of the organization.
One employee who took the pledge to heart is Raina Goodlow, the youth sports and fitness director for U.S. Garrison Humphreys in South Korea. She believes in providing the best possible service to the youth athletes and their parents.
"It's extremely important for the youth sports program to provide unique opportunities for our Soldiers and families while they are stationed here in Korea," she said. "We see it as our duty to ensure that we have quality programs and provide the same kind of opportunities that you see in the states."
Goodlow is a part of a team of MWR employees, Soldiers, family members, contractors, civilians and volunteers. Together, they build a successful program, leaving youth participants with memorable experiences as they develop their athletic skills.
For Goodlow's team, being a part of a participatory culture is important to strengthen programming. The team listens to the customers' feedback and suggestions.
"We receive a lot of suggestions for new programs or ideas on how to make things more efficient," she said. "As we continue to grow, we will approach each phase [in our program] in an innovative way that meets the customers' demands."
Another employee took the OPEX training to heart in a different way. Christine Donovan, of Fort Wainwright, Alaska, taught OPEX training for four years at two military installations in the state. When she took a position outside of MWR, she decided to implement customer service training to her new co-workers and use MWR's OPEX training as a model.
Although her new job in the Plans, Analysis and Integration Office does not involve as much interaction with external customers, Donovan believed that providing excellent service to internal customers -- such as her fellow co-workers -- was just as important.
"Each of us has an effect in the organization we work in," she said. "I strive to educate people [during training] on their personal empowerment when it comes to affecting the culture of their work area."
According to Joanne Hernandez, assistant director in the School of Service Culture, an official customer service training program for appropriated fund employees is in development and planned to be launched in the next fiscal year. The implementation of an enterprise-wide official customer service training program is a step towards building a total service culture, as described by Lt. Gen. David D. Halverson, Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, in a recent white paper on the vision for the College of Installation Management.
"It's important to take care of our internal customers," Hernandez said. "By taking care of our internal customers, we are building a stronger organization where we can provide the best service to our Soldiers and families."