Friday, September 20, 2013

Why You Can't Do FSA Programs on the Internet

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.

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