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Respect Your Fellow Airman

Posted 12/4/2012   Updated 12/4/2012 Email story   Print story

    


Commentary by Lt. Col. Darrell S. Smith
Commander, 436th Dental Squadron


12/4/2012 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- 

It has been almost 14 years since I raised my hand and was sworn in to serve this great nation as a commissioned dental officer in the Air Force. I have learned in that time that we all work for someone, and we all have customers. The customers come in all shapes and sizes, some wear suits and dresses, and some wear military uniforms. Bottom line, we are all in the customer service business.

I define customer service as a series of human interactions, or activities intended to enhance the level of customer satisfaction.

Upon arrival at my first duty station, I met with my dental flight commander and was told that the only thing that matters is dental readiness. At no time during that in-processing meeting was it mentioned that I will be taking care of the best patients in the world, Airmen, and that I should treat them with the utmost respect. Fortunately I figured this out quickly. My customers were active duty members from around the base, and I worked hard to give them my very best.

Our customers have sworn to defend this great nation and are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice if required. These Airmen, their families, and affiliates, deserve the best customer service we can provide; a positive can-do attitude goes a long way in this business.

Great customer service is widespread here at Dover AFB, but as with everything else, there is always room for improvement...and leadership wants to know. Poor customer service is degrading to the member, the unit providing the service, and it undermines the overall mission. The customer comment cards are not on display for decoration--use them, your wing leadership takes input offered on these cards seriously. There is no reason to accept poor customer service!

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending how you look at it, mandatory appointments are a way of life for the active duty member. Some of these appointments include in-processing, annual dental exam, preventative health assessment, fitness assessment, drug demand reduction program, etc...and believe it or not, there's a good chance they would rather be somewhere else. However, if the member is treated with respect and sincere concern for their time and/or well-being, a positive light will be cast on the appointment, your unit, and the mission at hand. How cool is that!?

The 436th Airlift Wing delivers globally. Our customers are down range in the Area of Responsibility, as well as down the street, they may have one stripe on their sleeve, or a star on their lapel. They all deserve our very best! When given the opportunity to serve a customer, don't look at the branch of service, their rank or government services rating, or who they are married to, treat everyone with respect and you will never be wrong.

There is truly something special here at Dover AFB...it is the people. You work for the greatest company in the world, the Air Force! Take pride in all that you do, and be proud that you have what it takes to wear the Air Force uniform. Take care of each other, without you the 436th AW would not be able to Deliver.



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