The National Cemetery Administration was recently recognized by the Federal Consulting Group for providing outstanding customer service to Veterans’ families throughout the last decade. FCG is the federal government’s executive agent for the American Customer Satisfaction Index, a standardized measure of customer satisfaction in the U.S. economy. The index covers approximately 225 companies in 45 industries and 10 economic sectors.
NCA achieved the highest ranking of any group (public or private) on the latest index, for the fourth consecutive time in 10 years.
The 2010 survey was sent to next-of-kin of Veterans and family members laid to rest in national cemeteries over the preceding 12 months. Their responses earned NCA 94 of 100 possible points for overall customer satisfaction.
Why do we continue to top the charts? There are several reasons for our success. Yet to my mind, one trumps all the others: Every one of our employees understands there are no “do-overs” in our business. We know we have to do things right the first time, every time.
For most families, thankfully, the need to bury or memorialize a cherished loved one arises infrequently. So unlike other leading companies covered by the survey, we typically get just one chance to meet our customers’ expectations.
This was brought home to me again recently during a get-acquainted interview with a new employee, the widow of a Veteran buried in a national cemetery.
“In a week that was pretty much a blur from start to finish,” she told me, “the cemetery staff’s compassion and professionalism stood out clearly. I want to work at NCA because I know from personal experience that what we do here truly matters.”
We are grateful for the trust placed in us by Veterans and their families and continue to strive for improvement. Our goal remains 100 percent customer satisfaction. Some may say that’s unrealistic, but I say our Veterans—who have borne the Nation’s greatest struggles—deserve nothing less.
A career VA employee, Steve Muro is VA’s Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs. He is also a Vietnam Veteran.