Patrons give their benefit high marks in annual survey
Helpful and courteous employees, store cleanliness and layout, and convenient hours topped the list of what commissary patrons liked most about their stores, according to the 2019 Commissary Customer Service Survey (CCSS).
More than 20,000 shoppers rated the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) an overall 4.51, a 4.9-percent increase from last year’s mark of 4.30. The score is based on a 5-point scale, ranging from 1, “Poor,” to 5, “Excellent.”
“These are the highest marks the agency has experienced since 2012, so we are encouraged by the improvement,” said Rear Adm. (retired) Robert J. Bianchi, DOD special assistant for commissary operations. “We believe our new programs are moving the needle – the Your Everyday Savings! program, renewed focus on customer service and an increased emphasis on getting more products on the shelf.
“However, there’s always room to do better, and that’s our mission as the providers of the commissary benefit,” he said.
DeCA conducted this year’s survey over 10 straight operating days at each commissary, beginning July 29. Commissary analysts crunched the results by store, zone and area to produce reports on trends, year-to-year comparisons and patron demographics. This information gives the agency a better idea of who is shopping and what patrons think of their benefit. The overall score is a weighted average of the 14-item scores based on store sales.
|CCSS Item Scores||2018||2019|
|1. Low prices / overall savings||4.20||4.42|
|2. Well stocked, full shelves||4.09||4.29|
|3. Convenient hours||4.36||4.62|
|4. Cleanliness of entrance / sales area / restrooms||4.37||4.62|
|5. Produce quality / selection||4.08||4.28|
|6. Meat quality / selection||4.39||4.57|
|7. Deli quality / selection||4.23||4.45|
|8. Bakery quality / selection||4.15||4.36|
|9. Selection, other food items (dry, frozen & dairy)||4.28||4.49|
|10. Store layout and time required to shop||4.34||4.58|
|11. Checkout waiting time||4.35||4.50|
|12. Attractive displays / store décor||4.31||4.53|
|13. Courteous, friendly and helpful employees||4.57||4.75|
|14. Overall satisfaction (How did we do?)||4.44||4.60|
From its inception in 1991, DeCA has surveyed its customers. The current Commissary Customer Service Survey has been in place since 2000.
Since July, DeCA has used ForeSee, a robust survey platform, to host and manage a new purchaser receipt survey to augment the annual results captured by the CCSS. With ForeSee, patrons submit a link, https://mydeca.me/receipt, printed at the bottom of their sales receipt into a browser to access the survey. They have seven days from their purchase date to log on and complete the survey. ForeSee gives commissaries a real-time snapshot of patron feedback throughout the year, while the CCSS is an annual comprehensive overview.
Both survey tools ultimately allow commissaries to give patrons a voice in improving their benefit, Bianchi said.
“The CCSS is our annual deep dive, our report card, on how we are doing as we deliver the benefit every day worldwide,” he said. “And like any evaluation we learn from it so that our patrons continue to receive the best shopping experience possible in their commissaries.”
PHOTO CAPTION: A soldier at the Camp Humphreys, Korea, Commissary shops for hummus. More than 20,000 patrons worldwide gave their benefithigh marks during the 2019 Commissar Customer Service Survey (CCSS). (DeCA photo: Rick Brink)