Survey indicates satisfaction with Operations/Maintenance services

Director of Operations and Maintenance Bruce Geibel has been working for some time on an initiative to improve his department's services and efficiency. According to a survey of department customers conducted last year, he's doing something right.

The survey asked customers about their level of satisfaction with the services provided by Operations and Maintenance, a unit of the Facilities Management Division. Not only was the response overwhelmingly positive (85 percent of respondents were satisfied), it also was overwhelming in terms of volume. Of the 266 customers who received survey forms, 142 completed and returned them, resulting in a response rate of 53 percent. A response rate of 10 percent to 15 percent is considered successful for most surveys.

Broken down by service category, the survey revealed levels of customer satisfaction as follows: maintenance services, 91 percent; utilities services, 74 percent; roads and grounds service, 91 percent; customer service center, 92 percent; custodial services, 84 percent; and management/supervision, 91 percent.

Most of the people surveyed, Geibel said, are administrators, office managers and secretaries, staff who commonly serve as departmental points of contact with Operations and Maintenance.

To address the concerns expressed in the survey results, Geibel has begun four broad initiatives:

*Customer contact: "My managers, supervisors and I have already contacted and/or visited dozens of surveyed customers individually to initiate or continue discussions to improve our customer service," Geibel said.

*Departmental re-engineering: "A major re-engineering effort, with professional outside assistance, is under way in the department to look at the way we do our business, i.e., our organization, procedures, policies and processes," Geibel said. "Our organization may change to some degree as we strive to improve customer service and get closer to our customers."

*Customer Service Center: In addition to hiring a new center manager, Bobby Smith, Geibel also has enhanced the center's inspection, planning and estimating functions. "It is our goal to strengthen customer feedback, improve estimating, lower costs and enhance the quality of our services," he said.

*Sanitary napkin service: Installation and servicing of sanitary napkin dispensers has become a centralized function in custodial services, and vending machine-type dispensers are being installed and serviced in previously unserved areas. Geibel asks community members to call 727-7468 to initiate or report sanitary napkin service needs.

"We are proud of the overall survey results," Geibel said. "While they show that we still have a long way to go in many areas (cost, feedback, HVAC service), we do have a good foundation in place for the most part."

Other departmental goals Geibel has set for 1995-96 include: increasing productivity in custodial and building maintenance by 12 percent; developing several key performance indices for departmental activities; and implementing a safety/environmental inspection program at the shop level.

Following the completion of the re-engineering efforts begun after last year's survey, Geibel has distributed a mini survey to 10 of the department's most frequent customers. He expects to have those results by the end of March.

--Dan Treadaway

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