Sunday, February 19, 2012

Improving FSA Customer Service

One of the issues for any big bureaucracy is how do the bureaucrats at the center/top of the organization monitor the success their operatives have in dealing with their customers/clients.  In the case of FSA there used to be a number of ways the DC people, even those in the ivory tower as Chet Adell used to call the Administration Building, which used to house the Administrator and deputies, kept up with the field:
  • first of all there was the feedback up the chain of command, from county through district director, state office and state director to area director
  • second there was the feedback through the politicians--the county committee members, state committee members, etc.
  • third the correspondence and phone calls directly from the farmers to DC, whether the Administrator, Congresspeople, or President
I think implementing web applications which provides direct service to customers creates a problem--how do you get feedback from the customers?  The established channels don't work (I don't see farmer Jones telling Ms. Smith in the local county office of a problem he had with the FSA website a week ago), and I don't have much faith in the ability of canned surveys to gather useful information. 

Would it work for the county offices to use the same applications as their customers could access online?

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