FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Soldiers and families who use Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities can expect better customer service in Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities after employees recently completed customer service training.

"Exceeding Expectations" customer-service and leadership training was given to all FMWR staff and managers. It included "Give 'em the Pickle" a customer service philosophy which started in the chain of restaurants owned by Bob Farrell.

The website "Give 'em the Pickle" says "the pickle philosophy has evolved as it's been put into practice at various businesses. It may be about going the extra mile to make customers happy or putting your own personal stamp on customer service that sets you apart from your competition."

"The goal of the training was to make the employees more aware of how the customer views them and who the customer really is," said MJ Lohrenz, director of FMWR, "and to stress the importance of the customer voice."

"It was a pleasure to be a part of the training. John Shoupe was a very good trainer. His personality was easygoing, and his mannerism is what really pulled the class together.
He used humor, wit, and really used interpersonal skills to meet the needs and the challenges of the class," said Megan Brown, Youth Service Facility director. "I also believe that my staff was equally pleased with the training, and have put some of the "pickles" to work in our daily activities."

Brown said the most important thing she learned was "That everyone is a customer. That it just takes a little effort to make sure that your customer knows that they are important to your establishment. The most important is when presented with a problem make sure you take the extra step to help someone out to the best of your capabilities. Make sure that you meet each challenge with complete follow-through."

Lessons learned "ranged from a reminder who the customer really is, and for others how to use their interpersonal skills to find an elevated level of customer service in which they really can exceed expectations," Brown said. "The classroom was an open forum of suggestions, ideas, and problem-solving techniques that could be put into everyday situations. It was an opportunity to really delve into finding the appropriate medium in how to address all different types of people, with all different types of needs. The training really helped develop the proper tools to make a difference, and to be able
to suggest alternatives when a solution couldn't be reached."

"Customers can expect a new level of customer service," Brown said. "Professionalism, politeness, empathy, follow-through, and an opportunity to be satisfied upon the results."

"The number of ICE cards has increased by huge numbers," Lohrenz said. "We want all information on our service, good and bad."