By Cheryl Rodewig, The BayonetOctober 15, 2009
FORT BENNING, GA - Out of all DoD installations and forward operating bases, Fort Benning had the most Interactive Customer Evaluation surveys submitted during fiscal 2009.
"We had almost 50,000 comments submitted," said Bernard Goss, customer service officer for Fort Benning. "We also had one of the highest satisfaction ratings for installations that had more than 30,000 submissions: we tied with Fort Stewart and Fort Bragg at 96 percent."
All response requested ICE comments are read and evaluated, Goss said. When the customer requests a response and provides contact information, the owner of the service will follow up within 72 hours.
Fort Benning receives around 1,500 ICE submissions weekly, and those submissions can translate to real changes on post, Goss said.
Within the last year, ICE comments have influenced Internet availability at Uchee Creek and longer hours at Smith Fitness Center.
It has also helped the ID card process move faster and more efficiently, said Danny Wilson, adjutant general for the Directorate of Human Resources.
When the common access card system upgraded in March 2008, the extra certificates required for the CAC lengthened the amount of time it took to produce a card. The process added several minutes to customer wait time, which used to take only 15 minutes on a walk-in basis.
"When the new CAC came out ... all those individuals who were walking in now were having to wait anywhere between 30 minutes to three and a half hours just to get an ID card," Wilson said.
The ID Card Section's customer satisfaction rating averaged 95 percent before the upgrade, but after March, "it nosedived to 77 percent," he said. "We finally came to a conclusion that we could no longer satisfy our customers by having a walk-in basis, because there was just too long of a waiting period."
After instituting an appointment-only system in November, customer satisfaction measured through ICE rose to 96 percent.
"And we guarantee - unless the system goes down - that we'll service the individual within 15 minutes of his or her appointment, and we're pretty successful in accomplishing that," Wilson said. "That way we're satisfying customers."
Wilson sets aside at least two hours every afternoon for emergencies, like people losing their card, and retirees who may not know about the appointment requirement, to help keep things running smoothly.
Wilson said he welcomes comments about the ID card process or any other aspect of DHR, which received the largest number of ICE submissions every year - around 23,430 for fiscal 2009.
"If they have any good suggestions, we'll use them. If they come up with something that would be an improvement, then we'll make the improvement," he said. "Sometimes they can think of a good idea we didn't think of, so we always respond to (comments) personally."
If a customer has praise for a specific employee, that is reflected on the employee's performance appraisal, Wilson said. Complaints are noted as well after they are validated.
"We measure customer service in virtually everything we do here in the Directorate of Human Resources," he said. "We're here to serve."
With more than 270 providers listed on Fort Benning, like School Age Services, housing, Central Issues Facility and the Sand Hill snack bar, Goss said he hopes people will submit ICE feedback about a variety of services they use.
"It'll make our program better across the board," he said. "It's about taking care of that Soldier and taking care of that family that's with the Soldier. That has a direct impact on mission and quality of life.
"We are listening. Sometimes it may seem like it takes a long time for things to change, (but) we are listening, and we do our best to respond."
To submit a comment, log onto ICE at http://ice.disa.mil.