FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Fort Leonard Wood’s Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, ID card office is constantly striving to improve and expand the services they provide to service members, their families, civilians and retirees in the Fort Leonard Wood community and beyond.
According to Eyonda Williams, Military Personnel Division chief, one of their most recent improvements was that they can open appointments 90 days out to replace common access cards 90 days prior to expiration — previously, the appointment schedule was open 30 days prior.
“That’s something we were just able to work out,” she said. “The appointment schedule is now opened up 90 days out, so you have more time to fit an appointment into your schedule.”
To assist with the appointments, the office has more staff as well.
“We now have a full staff and we are taking more appointments in a day than we have in the past,” said Crystal Knapp, Human Resource supervisor.
Another recent effort from the staff received much praise online.
In July, the office began scripting and producing one-minute instructional videos posted to social media to provide information on required documents for some common reasons people visit.
While information on required documents for various ID card situations is already included on the DEERS ID Card web page on Fort Leonard Wood’s official website, the staff felt the videos — which were posted to the Fort Leonard Wood Facebook page — were a way to add even more accessibility to the information, in a more light-hearted way.
Lauren Hill, a Human Resource assistant who assists customers in the ID card office, was featured in the three videos completed and released so far — they detail a few of the most common reasons people visit.
“There’s one with a couple who were just married,” she said. “We talked about the different identifications the spouse needed to bring to get enrolled in the DEERS and get an ID card. We also had a service member who lost his CAC — we explained what he needed — and we had one with a Department of Defense civilian employee who lost an ID card.”
More videos are on the way, Hill said.
“There are so many different situations — adoptions, disabled veterans cards, name changes,” she said. “The first three were well received and we’ll be producing more.”
Knapp added additional improvements are on the way soon as well, including more QR Code displays to provide customers with easier access to information they will need for most transactions within DEERS.
“We’re looking at doing something similar to what Fort Carson recently did,” she said. “We’re going to create QR code posters for things like how you make an appointment. It’s using technology to its fullest to make life easier for our customers.”
Knapp said a lot of customers use the QR codes already displayed to assist in leaving comments via the Interactive Customer Evaluation system, or ICE.
“We receive 15 to 20 ICE comments a week, and we use them for training — some of the best practices we’re implementing come from ICE comments,” she said. “We started putting a sign-up roster out the night before for customers who arrive early and we’ve changed the layout of the waiting area and added an overflow area. These were some of the ideas that came from our customers.”
The ID card office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon Thursday. The last walk-in is accepted at 2 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and at 10 a.m. on Thursday.
“That’s another fairly recent change,” Williams said. “We take walk-ins every day — no longer just on Wednesdays. We encourage our customers to make appointments to avoid extended delays though. Walk-ins are seen in-between appointments.”
Knapp said people should be able to find the information they need regarding required documents for their particular situation on the website. However, customers with additional questions are encouraged to call.
“We want to take care of them quickly and ensure they have the right documents because we value their time,” Hill said. “We have some people coming from three or four hours’ drive away. We want to make it a one-and-done trip, if possible.”