What does true customer service mean?


I think we all understand what customer service is. We have all been waiting in line at some point in our life only to be served by a cashier who is less than helpful. Or the flip side, the cashier that greets you with a cheerful smile and ensures that you complete your shopping experience with a positive ending. Now how does this relate to a contractor serving the military?  What follows are the principles that we at Offutt use to serve the customer.

  1. Who is the customer? Seems like a pretty easy question right? Well, it is more than just the student that sits in our classrooms. It is also more than just the government agency that approves our classroom courseware. It is also the commander that needs a break for a student that is struggling with some personal issue. It is also the past graduate that is coming back into just to talk and be mentored by the ‘old heads.’ It is also the numerous other maintenance and operational personnel that will call out of the blue and ask you to provide expertise and knowledge to a troubling problem. The customer is often someone that does not know that you can assist in solving their issue or problem. For example, our CTI employees assist in the areas of scheduling, maintenance procedures, new operational procedures, technical manuals, and the list goes on and on. I am not talking about just going around looking for problems to solve. I am talking about being an active participant in the goal, or the mission that the customer has. Our CTI employees here ultimately focus on the 55th WG’s mission and help to reach and fulfill it. Thus, in the end, the customer is in reality is the mission of those that we serve. Is it outside the strict confines of the written contract? Yes it is. But, it does help satisfy the ultimate goal of educating and training combat aviators that protect our way of life.
  2. ‘Yes’ is a powerful word. Recall the cashier example above. All of us do not appreciate the answers “I do not know” or “Sorry, I cannot help” to our questions. Here at Offutt, our employees’ mind-set is to find a way to help the customer and say ‘yes’ to their requests. Many of the customer requests are outside the letter of the contract. In the end, if the customer makes a reasonable request that is in line with the mission, then the Offutt CTI team goes out of their way to say ‘Yes.’
  3. Provide higher quality instruction and courseware than required and expected. The required portion is easy to delineate. The contract is the ‘required.’ The expected is harder to hit because if you have a great record with the customer, the bar is set higher than standard. For Offutt CTI, the bar is much higher because of the lengthy success that we have had in training and ensuring the 55WG’s success. The way to ensure accomplishment in this area is to really listen to what the customer needs and then exceed these needs.
  4. Sometimes you have to even think of things and provide answers for what the customer has yet to identify as a way to improve. A winning team will always strive to surpass these needs. At Offutt, the CTI team is a group of professionals that take great pride in what they do for the customer, the mission of the customer, and ultimately for the country. It is a natural for them to strive to exceed the customer’s needs but also to do ‘the right thing’ regardless of the tasking. Providing more than what is expected is actually, kind of expected now. This is a nice problem to have!

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