Recently, the Eighth Federal Reserve District sent out several surveys. The District is committed to obtaining information from our various constituents so that we can improve our service. "We feel this is the best way to know directly how we are meeting the changing needs of our constituents," says Vice President Jean Lovati, who leads the District's Customer Service Program. Here are some highlights of what the District has learned thus far.
At a national level, the Treasury Relations and Support Office and the Customer Relations and Support Office sent surveys to 800 institutions throughout the nation during fourth quarter 2001. Institutions were randomly selected from those that had contacted the TT&L National Customer Service Area (NCSA) in St. Louis during 2001.
Customers were asked to provide feedback on three key areas of TT&L customer service:
Responding were 478 institutions, or 60 percent of those surveyed. More than 90 percent of respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with the level of service they received at the NCSA. Customer satisfaction centered on the NCSA staff members' ability to provide accurate information, the responsibility they took for problem solving and their professional courtesy.
TT&L customers also were extremely satisfied with the accuracy and content of their PATAX statements. Likewise, the PATAX Voice Response Customer Service Area also received high marks from customers, with 96 percent of respondents being satisfied or very satisfied.
Only a few institutions offered specific suggestions for improvement, and most comments were complimentary. Nevertheless, NCSA plans to examine every suggestion and comment carefully, looking for ways to improve the TT&L program and customer service.
"We were pleased to find that, while there are some areas that need improvement, most of the responses were very positive," notes Lovati. "After only a little more than a year, the consolidation is paying off with better customer service and high levels of customer satisfaction."
The District also conducted a survey of financial institutions in the District—the first to be conducted since the 1999 National Customer Satisfaction Survey. We sought to obtain feedback on the service performance of specific functional areas—Cash, Check, Customer Accounts and Electronic Access Support (EAS)—within each of the District's four offices, the individual account executives across the District and the Bank's written communication pieces, Central Banker and Payments Quarterly. More than 2,200 postage-paid survey cards were sent to 1,200 institutions, and more than 370 survey cards, or 16 percent, were returned.
All questions were answered on a five-point scale (1= poor, 2=fair, 3=good, 4=very good, 5=excellent). The ratings were as follows:
"These ratings and comments really help us better understand what we do well and what we need to improve," says Assistant Vice President Fran Sibley, "and we're taking this feedback seriously. Now we have specific information--by department and location--which will be used to guide our service improvements this year and next."
The Banking Supervision and Regulation Division identified four areas as being the most important to our state member bankers:
(1) minimizing burden, (2) consistency in judgments and interpretations, (3) professionalism, and (4) responsiveness. BS&R asked 64 institutions to complete a survey focused on these issues, and more than 80 percent responded.
"We were very pleased with the response rate. Overall, the feedback we received was very positive—especially regarding professionalism, knowledge and helpfulness of the examiners," states Vice President Kim Nelson. "We plan to assess the many comments and suggestions closely, and we will follow up with our state member banks later this year."
This summer, the Public Affairs Department will be asking subscribers of the new Electronic Distribution service to tell us what they think about the service. Look for the survey on the Bank's public web site, www.stlouisfed.org.