Between June and August, the Exchange Inspector General office conducted inspections in the Europe/Southwest Asia Region, Eastern and Central regions, and at the Dallas headquarters.
With the goal of improving Exchange operational efficiency, effectiveness and compliance with governing documents, the IG team observed and interviewed associates and managers. Here are 6 big things team members found:
1 – Associate morale is high. According to the IG’s “climate assessment survey,” the overall trend was positive. When provided the opportunity to type comments, the most frequent statement was “I love my job.” IG team members encountered motivated people at all locations. Sure, not everyone was happy everywhere all of the time, but the vast majority of the results pointed to high morale.
2 – Communication is always an area for improvement. Associates noted communication as the main area for improvement. Specifically, survey results showed, customer comments were either not being communicated or were perceived as not being communicated. Associates reported that communication of negative customer comments occur more frequently than positive customer comments.
3 – Relations with installation leadership are strong. In all locations where IG team members met with installation leaders, they heard about the strong partnerships that Exchange leaders have developed. The IG Team was impressed with efforts of store managers and general manager throughout the Europe/Southwest Asia Region toward community involvement. The numerous installation events in which the Exchange participates or hosts really highlight the initiative and motivation of associates to give back and help create an extraordinary customer experience.
4 – The Exchange meets the basic needs of customers. The IG team conducted a customer survey in contingency locations to assess how the Exchange meets the basic needs of customers and customer satisfaction with associates. The results indicated a strong positive customer perception that the Exchange provides necessities. Customers also reported a high satisfaction rate with customer service.
5 – Gun-counter operations require constant vigilance. Gun-counters are perhaps the single most regulated part of Exchange operations. Vigilance is required to comply with all federal, state, and Exchange policies and regulations. Gun-counter associates must also possess the ability to assess customers and have the courage to use good judgment when they perceive something is not right. Taking action to deny a firearms sale could save lives.
6 – The MILITARY STAR collections process needs transparency. When transferring a debt to collections, calculating and communicating the true cost of the debt to a customer is important to ensure he or she knows how much to pay. Executing the collections process in the same manner enables the Exchange to provide extraordinary customer experience to shoppers that will be highly valued.
The Inspector General’s office is here to hear from you! Contact the office through its website, https://odin.aafes.com/Oig, call 1-800-527-6789, or send an email to the IG at Hotline@aafes.com. LTC Jakoby is the Exchange’s Chief of Inspections.