Customer service defines success

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Joseph M. Bystedt
  • 934th Maintenance Squadron

Most people do not think of a military organization as being focused on customer service. That is a mistake. All occupations have customers and satisfying those customers defines their success, we are no different. The fact that the military is not a for-profit entity does not alleviate the need for a strong focus on the customer. Every airman should be aware of who their customers are and what requirements they need to fulfill.

Unfortunately for us, business has been very good for many years now and in most businesses that would mean plenty of do re mi for everything from hiring to new equipment to facilities, etc. That’s not how it works for us. Our board of directors all reside inside the beltway and they are sticklers for cutting every chance they get. Doing more with less is a mindset that has become second nature at this point. Because of this, focusing on meeting the needs of our customers is more important than ever. Do not forget in your organization who your customers are and how to treat them right. Quite frankly, every EPR/OPR/860 should have a section on customer satisfaction. It may be the most valuable measure of an employee’s contribution to the unit’s success.

Taking ownership of the process is key. Putting your customer in the position of deciphering the bureaucracy of your organization is a recipe for failure. Going above and beyond should be our creed, it’s already in our core values. Every opportunity by an organization to provide first rate customer service benefits all and should be lauded. Pushing tasks down to the customer and hiding behind a policy is a recipe for failure. Middlemen should be eliminated whenever possible. Every time there is another layer in a process the chance of failure increases.

In closing, I challenge all of us to go that extra mile. If you’re the owner, really own it. Don’t put a multitude of your customers in the position of learning what you are already great at. Help them every way you can so as to allow them to concentrate on what they do best. If for no other reason, do it for self-preservation, the more we cascade our processes to the end user the more redundant we become.