Almost every day, we receive a request to complete a feedback survey. Whether it’s after we’ve made a Target run, picked up some fast food from the drive through, or after we’ve grabbed a Starbucks on the way to the office, almost every receipt we get has a request for us to give feedback on the service we just received. Many businesses want to know how they are doing and what consumers like and don’t like about their most recent experience so they can make it better. We here at the Corps of Engineers are no different.
Each year we ask our partners and stakeholders to formally give us feedback through our Customer Feedback Survey. While we appreciate - and want - feedback throughout the year, this is the one time a year we seek to gain feedback in specific categories. The top rating in each area is a 5, and that’s what we strive for. More importantly than the rating, though, is the quality of the products and services we provide. If we are giving you quality construction, plans and specs, water resource studies, and project management services then our feedback scores will reflect that fact. As the senior civilian here in the Charleston District, I am looking to ensure we provide consistent and ever-increasing quality year after year.
So how are we doing to strive for a satisfaction score of 5? In 2016, our average customer satisfaction score was 4.59 from our Civil Works customers and stakeholders and 4.57 from our Military Program customers. These scores are both just slightly up from the previous survey responses. These scores show us that while we haven’t hit the pinnacle of a 5 yet, we are working hard to give you, our customers, the products and services you expect and deserve. And while the numbers are important to us, the most important aspect of the surveys are the written comments we receive. I personally read EVERY survey submitted and use the information provided to work with our employees as we examine our processes, procedures, products, and services for ways to continually improve.
Seeing a “Satisfied” or “Dissatisfied” score is informative, but seeing comments that say “We very much appreciate the Corps adding an archaeologist to the staff…” or “Need more communication on schedule and scope changes” helps us better focus on specific areas to improve. In Fiscal Years 17 and 18, as a result of recent feedback, we will be focusing on improving some of our communication methods, streamlining processes on our job order contract, and improving our communication with the customer on cost and schedule risks associated with construction projects.
In the Charleston District, we pride ourselves on being customer service focused. We want the products and services we provide to serve as enablers to our customers; we focus on the construction/services/studies so you can focus on your own core missions. We strive for that perfect 5 score, but we also strive to understand your needs and missions and determine how we can most effectively help you meet them. Feedback is a gift, a gift that keeps giving. Although I can’t give you a free drink or a discount on your next purchase, I promise you the time you invested in completing the survey helps guide my decisions in moving the District forward. I look forward to your feedback at any time, whether it’s formal or informal.