GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- By November, over 1,000 employees in the Bavarian Military Community will begin a new customer service regimen that will regulate how different directorates approach and manage their customer relations. The push, which is one of U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr Commander Col. James Saenz's priorities for the military community and an Installation Management Command tasker, will address the shifting realities of a leaner budget and institute a standard of customer service across the BMC.

"This is an initiative to get ahead of all that and create quality customer service in the BMC," said Tim Ghormley, lead management analyst for the garrison.

Along with pre-empting the personnel and budget reductions that are likely to cause longer lines and shorter hours of operations throughout the community, the new training will help civilian employees more smoothly interact with their clients.

"We're preventing bad customer service from being a norm in the garrison," explained Ghormley.
Borrowing from the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation template, the BMC will use uniform branding, signage and customer service regulations. The training will also follow in FMWR's footsteps with group sessions and role playing ways of responding to customers.

How civilian employees react to their customers will be a central component of the training seminars. Instructors will walk employees through greeting a customer, providing the service, ending the service and saying goodbye.

A customer service representative within every division will be named to coach and monitor their fellow employees. These representatives will make up a pool of trainees within the BMC expected to maintain high standards.

The training will also address how to manage customer dissatisfaction. So far, the garrison has discussed a "fast pass" system, which would give priority to disgruntled patrons and standardize methods "to make it up to the customer," said Ghormley.

Vehicle registration is the pilot organization for the new customer service model. The department will undergo a facelift in its waiting area. A fresh coat of paint and minor construction will give the hallway a brighter ambiance, while a play area will entertain the tykes.

The task force spearheading the overhaul is considering major reconstruction of the vehicle registration work area as well. Discussion centers on moving the employees' workstations to the counter, eliminating their need to walk back and forth to accomplish routine tasks. They would then work faster and help more customers, explained Master Sgt. Barry Beilhart, Department of Emergency Services.

"We're trying to streamline and make things more efficient for the customer and the registrar."

Straight-forward information displays and process maps explaining how to register and sell a vehicle will clarify the administrative aspects of owning a vehicle overseas.

"It's making the information more easily accessible and easier to understand," said Lt. Col. Scott Harbison, director of the Grafenwoehr's Department of Emergency Services.

Surprisingly, this move to restructure customer relations doesn't reflect widespread dissatisfaction in the garrison.

"What we see when we look at our ICE ratings in the garrison, we have an 88-94 percent satisfaction rating," said Ghormley, which is considerably higher than the IMCOM standard of 74 percent.

IMCOM-wide, added Ghormley, "We're getting ahead of everyone else."