By Caroline GotlerFebruary 20, 2009
Fort Benning customer service representatives want your 2 cents.
Interactive Customer Evaluation, an Armywide program that has been in place at Fort Benning since 2003, offers customer satisfaction surveys for 275 services on Fort Benning. More services will be added to ICE in the future, said Bernard Goss, Fort Benning customer service officer.
ICE aims to provide a customer service rating for each service on post, Goss said.
Customers can take ICE surveys at the ICE Web site or at the 20 ICE kiosks on post. Feedback from surveys goes directly to the program's director or designated representative. To receive a response within 72 hours, customers can choose the "feedback requested" option on the survey.
"(Staff) look at whether it would be a change that's viable to make their program better overall," Goss said. "Or if it's something they can't implement at that time, they'll keep a record of it and let the individual know."
Based on overwhelmingly negative ICE customer feedback, the post ID card section changed its appointment system in January to eliminate non-emergency walk-ins. Since the new system was implemented, customer satisfaction has increased from 82 percent to 97 percent.
"ICE has been very, very, very important to us," said Irma Mason, chief of Fort Benning's personnel services branch. "Without the customer complaints, we would probably still be where we were before."
Requiring customers to make an appointment ahead of time has helped to eliminate excessively long wait times, as well as to avoid confusion over hours the ID card section closes for missions, Mason said.
"People didn't know when we would be closed because the word didn't get out far," Mason said. "Now, with appointment-only, we shouldn't have anyone coming here when we're closed and wasting their time. We've gotten very positive feedback."
The ID card section also received more staff and offers an online portal for making appointments, both of which have contributed to improving customer service, Mason said.
SFC Paul R. Smith Fitness Center is also making changes based on ICE feedback. In response to numerous customer requests for longer hours of operation, the fitness center will operate 24 hours a day from March through September. If feedback is positive, the fitness center will change its hours permanently.
ICE offers several advantages over the paper comment cards available at the fitness center, said Jim Shoemaker, chief of the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation's community recreation division.
"It's quicker and more efficient than the comment cards," he said. "As soon as the customer hits 'send,' it's at our headquarters and can be sent to several different managers and directors at once. It's a good way to identify trends."
"I think ICE has met a need because customers finally realized they have a voice," Goss said.