By Lee Roberts
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — When it comes to managing human resources in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, providing world-class customer service and building strong relationships with customers are the top priorities for successful human resources offices.
To support those priorities, representatives from the Nashville, Louisville, Buffalo, Detroit, Huntington, Pittsburgh and Chicago Districts' Civilian Personnel Advisory Centers held a Customer Service Improvement Project and Supervisors Conference at the Nashville District Headquarters Aug. 7-9, 2012. They focused on how to build strong relationships with managers and employees, how to improve current customer service, and how to get valuable feedback to measure the success of customer service improvement.
Maj. Patrick Dagon, Nashville District deputy commander, said getting these experts together from across the division helped from a corporate perspective because lessons were shared and the team collectively looked at recent survey data to improve human resources processes.
"The regional team met in Nashville to discuss customer service satisfaction and made great strides in understanding the role of a customer focused approach and started the important process of making critical adjustments to improving service," Dagon said.
In getting back to basics with customer service, the participants learned that first impressions matter, courtesy counts, attitude is everything, and it's important to always do the right thing.
Joseph D. Tober, a human resources specialist with the regional CPAC in Chicago, said the conference helped the team to really analyze the overall service provided to customers.
"That was truly demonstrated by the amount of effort put forth in development of the product produced on our last day of the conference," Tober said. "I truly believe customer service starts from within each person, and this conference helped me refocus my own customer service skills, which will improve my ability to provide a quality product while keeping the customer happy."
Lynn Bradley, chief of the Nashville District CPAC, developed the training and presented the information the teams used to ultimately form up and produce suggestions for improvements that will be looked at by leadership throughout the division.
"I can think of no greater use of our time than to spend it listening to customer input, evaluating what they said, and then developing plans to improve our level of service. And that was accomplished this week," said Diane Hibbs, chief of the division CPAC.
The next steps are to finalize the action plans, present specifics to management and CPAC personnel, train the rest of the CPAC staffs, and then implement new plans.
Other CPAC participants included Adrienne Barber, representing the Buffalo and Detroit Districts; Mark Lycan and Jamie Lemley, Huntington District; Linda Miller and Lisa Matthew, Louisville District; Lisa Eberly and Deborah Kroeschel, Pittsburgh District; Carla Redmon, from the division; Phyllis Williams, Detroit District; and Wanda Coleman and Jennifer Gillespie, Nashville District.