Archive for August, 2010

Army and Air Force Exchanges Listen…and React

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

strong>MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Ward
RELEASE DATE: August 2010
Army and Air Force Exchanges Listen…and React

DALLAS – Improved stock assortments, a revamped customer comment program and a focus on social media are just a few ways Army and Air Force Exchanges are listening and adjusting to military shoppers’ needs.

As seen in the recent rollout of Vera Bradley and Coach Store In Store (SIS) concepts, along with Victoria’s Secret Pink, Exchanges continues to focus on new, trendy and updated styles as well as recognizable name brands.

In an effort to meet a continuing demand for more of the best brands at the best prices, upcoming rollouts will also include Ladies Izod and Lauren-Ralph Lauren SIS concepts.

In addition to the increase in selection, Army and Air Force Exchanges are developing an internal system to better assist associates in determining demographic factors when procuring fashion merchandise.

A web-based learning course has also been created to aid in the merchandising of fashion goods and customer service.

“We’re continually adjusting the stock assortment to ensure we have what military shoppers want and need,” said the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s Senior Enlisted Advisor Chief Jeffry Helm. “At the same time, we are reaching out to the military community to find out what they’d like to see more of and what they want less of.”

Customer feedback continues to be instrumental in allowing the Exchange to better serve military consumers and improve their overall shopping experience. The Customer Comment program, for example, was recently redesigned for 2010 to include postage-paid comment cards as well as new signing and fixtures to make it easier for military shoppers to provide input to Exchange managers.

Customer comment cards that encourage shoppers to see local managers for on-the-spot corrections or to submit a comment online at, through an 800 number or by mail are available at all Army and Air Force Exchange locations.

A recently signed Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Defense Washington Headquarters Services and Evaluation Division now even allows for the central management of all AAFES-related Interactive Customer Evaluation (ICE) comments. The result is more data captured regarding customer satisfaction, trends and issues, providing a “bigger picture” of what military shoppers are saying about the Exchange.

“By placing a greater emphasis on these customer feedback initiatives, we have nearly doubled the amount of customer comments from this time one year ago,” said Helm. “As a result, this invaluable feedback is helping direct efforts towards delivering a stronger benefit.”

Beyond one-on-one communication, the Exchange is continually engaged in public conversations with military shoppers through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. In fact, an expressed interest in extended savings opportunities in these venues prompted the creation of a recently launched program that makes coupons exclusively available through the Exchange’s Facebook page.

AAFES Working Double Time to Correct Inadvertent Charges

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

RELEASE DATE: August 2010
AAFES Working Double Time to Correct Inadvertent Charges

DALLAS – Numerous transactions at Army and Air Force Exchange operations are experiencing a double whammy no one saw coming; a processing error resulting in duplicate charges on credit and debit card transactions.

“Shoppers who swiped their cards anytime between Aug. 7 and Aug. 9 at an AAFES facility are strongly encouraged to review their statements to see if they are impacted by this issue,” said AAFES’ Chief of Staff Col. Virgil Williams. “If a customer finds a billing anomaly, no action will be required on their part as we’re working to correct inaccuracies on their behalf.”

Scores of associates from AAFES’ Information Technology and Finance and Accounting teams are working around the clock to remedy any and all erroneous charges created as a result of the processing error.

“We’re putting all the resources we have towards doing the right thing for customers affected by this unfortunate turn of events” said Williams. “If there is an overdraft fee as result of a duplicate charge, we’re going to fix it. Our priority is to take corrective action as quickly as possible and return customers’ accounts to the exact state they were prior to this glitch.”

The processing error that produced duplicate charges affected AAFES locations worldwide. Depending on the type of card used, corrective action could be visible to the customer anywhere from 24 hours to a couple of weeks.

“The timeline is subject to a number of variables,” said Williams. “Regardless, we want exchange shoppers to know that every possible measure is being taken to eliminate any additional charges and rectify any concerns created as a result of this processing miscue.”

AAFES Inspector General Offers Discount for Shoppers’ Input

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

RELEASE DATE: August 2010
AAFES Inspector General Offers Discount for Shoppers’ Input

DALLAS – As the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s Inspector General’s office prepares for its annual worldwide inspection of exchange operations, it’s appealing to authorized shoppers at select locations to provide feedback on customer relations and support.

To ensure as many people as possible are given the opportunity to provide input, authorized shoppers who use facilities the AAFES IG will be visiting are invited to participate in a quick survey concerning exchange operations.

For their time, shoppers will receive either a coupon for 10 percent off an Exchange Online Store order or a voucher for a $3 discount that can be applied to a BX/PX in-store purchase of $20 or more. The AAFES IG survey is available at

Locations eligible to participate in the survey and receive the discount, now through the end of Sept. include:

  • Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom
  • Ft. Benning
  • Ft. Buchanan
  • Ft. Campbell
  • Ft. Knox
  • Ft. Leonard Wood
  • Ft. Sam Houston
  • Ft. Sill
  • Ft. Stewart
  • Hickam AFB
  • Lackland AFB
  • Moody AFB
  • RAF Lakenheath
  • RAF Mildenhall
  • Randolph AFB
  • Redstone Arsenal
  • Robins AFB
  • Schofield Barracks
  • Scott AFB

“We want to hear from as many authorized shoppers, at the 19 locations we will be visiting, as possible” said AAFES’ IG Chief of Inspections Maj. Sonia Leach. “The survey takes only three to five minutes and is a win-win situation for us all. The patron receives helpful savings and we gain the benefit of their input for our inspection.”

The AAFES IG directive in 2010 is to assess the command’s compliance with policies and procedures specific to delivering what customers want, when they want it and how they want it. At the conclusion of the assessment, the IG will provide a final report to the AAFES Commander detailing the effectiveness of programs related to customer satisfaction.

Tinker Prepares to Put the “Change” in Exchange as Renovation Continues

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

RELEASE DATE: August 2010

Tinker Prepares to Put the “Change” in Exchange as Renovation Continues

DALLAS – Like a jet being prepped for flight, the Tinker Exchange is undergoing an intensive preflight check list as a host of associates and contractors prepare for the stores re-grand opening Sept. 17.

From floors to décor, the facility has already undergone a substantial transformation since work began on June 1. Since then, 75-100 construction personnel have been on site every day, working around the clock to rebrand the facility in an image that is eventually expected to be rolled out to Air Force and Army installations worldwide.

“It’s been a chaotic process behind the scenes, but we’ve taken every precaution possible to ensure it doesn’t appear that way to shoppers,” said the Tinker Exchange’s Store Manager Mike Patmon. “Like any good air or ground crew, we have teams working in multiple areas, but all activities are synchronized to produce the same result. Once we’re done removing old fixtures, redoing the floors and changing the layout of the store, the facility is going to feel ‘brand’ new.”

The countdown to lift off is on course according to Patmon who says that, despite the compressed timeline of just 116 days, renovations are on schedule and completed sections, such as the new Customer Service area, are already receiving positive reviews.

“This is something, I wasn’t expecting this,” said retired Airman Topper Coats while shopping the exchange in July. “I like it.”

While there are no missiles or avionics related to Exchange’s rebranding mission at Tinker, all members of the team are committed to a successful launch in anticipation of making the facility not only easier to shop, but more enjoyable to visit as well.

“We’re not just changing signs and slapping on a fresh coat of paint,” said Patmon. “Everything, from our approach to customer service to the ways customers interact with the merchandise, is being refashioned as we prepare to go ‘wheels up’ on our flight to deliver a world-class Exchange benefit to Team Tinker.”