WIESBADEN, Germany - The customer service representatives at the Operations and Maintenance Division are happy to be back in their office answering phones and processing housing repair requests for U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden.
When the garrison shuttered much of its services in response to COVID-19, the customer service telephone line for housing repairs got forwarded to the fire department. The Customer Service Center went from handling an average of 350 repair calls a week to none. The office’s five customer representatives went home.
Martina Schulz, 15-year veteran of the department, said, “This was new to everyone.”
During the down time, the employees reviewed internal processes and updated policies. Schulz came into the office once a week to file emergency repairs, but never got to speak to customers. “I really missed that,” she said.
Corinna Simmons, five-year veteran of the department, also missed customers. She processes large work orders and said, “The contact with customers keeps you on your toes.”
Simmons manages what she called the “bureaucracy of details.” She reviews complicated and expensive work orders, researches associated issues and prepares requests to go before a work order board for approval. “It is a day by day job,” she said. “I love to do this; I love to work with my customers.”
The department is slowly returning to normal. Oliver Stroh and Diana Syenda have joined Simmons and Schulz back at their desks full-time. One customer service representative, Patricia Winslow, is teleworking while the last of the office furniture is rearranged to address the health and safety needs to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“It is very good to be back to normal,” Schulz said. From her perspective, the office is more than a place to process repairs. “The community sees us as an information center, list A to Z.”
Martin Hallbauer, chief of the business operation and integration division, said, “We are happy to be back and serving our community.”
Simmons takes pride in the work she does. “I am able to help the community. To see the garrison evolving is very rewarding,” she said.
For those filing repair requests, Simmons had advice. “Make sure you have very detailed information -- the more the better.”