By Carolyn EricksonFebruary 13, 2009
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. - Customers spoke, the garrison commander listened, and Fort Leonard Wood is taking action to become the Army's station of choice.
"We are making an action plan to make (Fort Leonard Wood) better," said Col. John Megnia, Fort Leonard Wood garrison commander, sharing his vision of making the post as desired as a vacation at Club Med.
During October 2008, 883 people filled out the Customer Assessment Survey for every service provided on the installation. Fort Leonard Wood had the most participation of any post in the Training and Doctrine Command, and was second in the entire Army by about 20 participants.
"The number of responses gives valid insight on how well we are performing in a service, and how important that service is," Megnia said.
Customer feedback from the assessment was broken down into very specific areas to allow the garrison to pinpoint their efforts. The respondents were broken into different customer constituent groups: leaders, servicemembers, family members, retirees, civilians, veterans and contractors.
The customer feedback was put on an XY-axis that reflected how important the service was, and how well the garrison was providing it. Services that were important but not being performed well stood out for attention. Each directorate on post received a specific breakdown of customer feedback for their services.
"The data (from the survey) is very detailed and powerful," Megnia said. "Now I can develop a detailed strategy and marry it up with Interactive Customer Evaluation comments so I can validate and substantiate the data.
"It's like using smart munitions instead of dumb bombs," Megnia continued. "It provides a precise path to follow ... so I don't go off in the wrong direction to try to fix the problem."
Megnia gave an example of what he learned from reviewing the customer feedback. With Child and Youth Services, Megnia saw that leaders rated the service as very important, but not being done well. However, the family members (that use the service) rated CYS as very important and being done pretty well.
Megnia learned that he did not need to fix CYS, but rather improve its public relations with the post leadership.
"I have to first dispel the leader's idea that I have a broken CYS," Megnia said. "You (leaders) only hear the bad, but you don't see the day-to-day. Most people who use it every day think it's pretty good."
Matilda Adams, Customer Management Services specialist, is meeting with each director to explain the feedback system to them and educate them on their results.
"I will charge each director to come back to me with their action plan on how to improve their particular area," Megnia said.
Megnia and Adams are using ICE feedback to fine-tune their approach to resolving customer complaints. Megnia personally looks at each comment, and Adams "beams" them over to the responsible directors, who must respond within seven business days or answer to Megnia.
"In January we had over 1,100 comments," Adams said, "or about 150 to 200 a week."
Megnia said that he appreciates all the feedback, and especially when people take the time to enter positive feedback. He wants to know what is going well so he can praise the individuals involved.
"It's like finding a dollar on a sidewalk," Megnia said about reading a positive comment among all the negative feedback.
Megnia takes customer feedback seriously. People took the time to give us feedback, and we owe it to them to do something with it, and make sure they know we are taking action, he said.