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Communicating Clearly
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Navy Customer Service Manual
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Making Proper Disposition of Records
about  the  customer’s  understanding  of  the  actions  to  be taken. If several actions are involved or if these actions cover an extended period, you might want to repeat the basic actions to be taken just before the customer leaves. GIVING FURTHER ASSISTANCE Frequently  you  can  help  customers  get  additional help by referring them to another source of information at another contact point. When your refer a customer to another  contact  point,  make  sure  the  customer  knows where to go and what to ask for. Be sure to make the referral in such a way that you do not appear to be giving the customer the runaround. EXPLAINING RESULTS OF ACTIONS PO Frost purchases a home and is told that he might be allowed to make the mortgage payments through an allotment. After checking with a DK in the disbursing office, the PO decides that the allotment is the best way to make the payments. Since he has already made the August mortgage payment, PO Frost starts the allotment effective in September. He expects the allotment to cover  the  rest  of  the  mortgage  payments  beginning  with the  September  payment.  What  PO  FROST  doesn’t understand is that he will have to make another payment before  the  allotment  begins  to  be  applied  to  the payments.  The  DK  in  the  disbursing  office  could  have prevented this misunderstanding. The DK needed only to state, “The amount of the payment will be deducted from your pay in September, but the first check will not be mailed until 1 October.” That is just one example of the need to explain fully the results of action being taken. MAKING PROMISES Earlier we spoke about the practice of promising action simply to pacify and get rid of the customer. “That is not the only type of promise that leads to ill feelings. Some  contact  representatives  actually  promise  service or  action  over  which  they  have  no  control.  In  Case Number 5, the disbursing officer might have promised PO Seaman that his pay would be straightened out by a certain date. However, since the disbursing officer had no  control  over  when  the  pay  order  would  be  received from the previous command, he made no promise. As  a  contact  representative,  you  might  have  a customer who is filling out the duty preference card for future assignments. That member might want your assurance that the next transfer will be to a duty of choice.  However,  you  can’t  legitimately  make  that promise  because  the  future  assignment  is  out  of  your control. Don’t promise performance that is above your capacity to deliver; and don’t be too optimistic about your capacity to deliver—unforeseen events may interfere. If you have any doubt that you might be unable to keep a promise, explain that possibility to the customer. Then assure the customer that you will do your best, but don’t promise to deliver. RECORDKEEPING Many  of  the  actions  at  a  contact  point  involve records; these records may consist of various forms and records  of  actions.  Many  of  those  records  are  required by  official  directives.  Some  examples  areas  follows: Pages of the service record Personnel  advancement  requirements Entries on the leave and earning statement (LES) Forms   required   for   starting   or   stopping allotments Postal money order forms Forms required for transportation of personal effects Performance  evaluation  forms Applications  for  Navy  correspondence  courses If you are performing your duties satisfactorily, you will know how to fill out the forms and records of action appropriate  to  the  services  you  provide—or  how  to  help the customer fill them out. You will know the required number of copies and what their distribution should be. In processing records, all that you need to do to give the customer satisfactory service is to perform your regular duties correctly. Strive to keep accurate records. Making a mistake can cause trouble for yourself as well as  for  others  who  must  process  your  paperwork. However, mistakes are likely to result in much more trouble for the customer than for you. KEEPING  RECOMMENDED  RECORDS You keep some required records as governed by official directives. However, you keep some required records that are not governed by written directives. The following are examples of some records you must keep even though you have no written directives: 3-20

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