I'm sure few farmers would like to be compared the patrons of a check-cashing service, but when I read this piece from a professor who studies such services by working at one, that's what I thought. Takes me back to the days of Sec. Glickman, and the effort led by someone whose name I forget, to follow through on reengineering business processes. A small part of the effort was doing customer satisfaction surveys, which was a brand new concept to us FSA types. After all, we were handing out money, so how could farmers not be satisfied with us? </end sarcasm>
Actually the surveys as I remember did find that farmers were quite satisfied with their local offices (perhaps excluding the farm loan applicants, I'm not sure). And the reason was simple--the <s>clerks</s> <s> program assistants</s> program technicians knew the farmers and could tailor their approach to the personality and needs of the individual. That fact was then a big hurdle to the idea of moving FSA programs on-line to the extent that people could work from home.