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How to Use the Military ICE Comment System

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(Emily Jennings/DVIDS)

The Interactive Customer Evaluation (ICE) comment card system is one of my favorite things about services on military installations. Through it, I feel I have a way to voice my concerns over things that need to be addressed but may otherwise go unnoticed, or compliment people for a job well done. (I like to call these, NICE comments. Yeah. I know.)

The ICE system, available for every service and every installation across the military, is by no means new -- but it is sometimes underutilized. And while it may not work quite as well as it should, in my experience it is by far the most effective way to make stuff happen.

But some don’t see the value in ICE or are unsure how to use it in a way that creates change. Others don’t even know what it is. This is, in my opinion, a tragedy.

Using an ICE comment card is fairly simple. When you come across a service you’d like to make a comment on, simply follow these steps:

  1. Visit the ICE main site
  2. Locate your installation
  3. Pick the category under which the service you’re looking for will likely appear
  4. Fill out the comment card
  5. Send!

So easy.

I have also found following a few simple guidelines brings the best results while helping you, the commenter, feel like you’re not just shouting into empty space. And so I bring you …

Amy's ICE Comment Card Rules

Comment Often: I try to file a comment at some point about every installation service I use. What did I like about it? What did I not like about it? What is great and what can be improved?

Develop a schedule: I make a list of the services about which I need to leave comments. Then, instead of spending time messing with Facebook, once a week I write them up and send them in.

Give the people you’re commenting about the benefit of the doubt. I never complain about something until I see the problem twice. Maybe someone is just having a bad day or the person who cleans the lockers called in sick. But if the locker room is disgusting two or three times in a row – it’s time to hit the ICE system.

Don’t just complain – compliment! File (NICE) ICE comments when you see people doing a great job, not just when they need a swift kick to the pants.

Offer a suggestion. When critiquing or complaining about how something didn’t work, offer a suggestion on how it can be improved. For example, when the “giant voice” speaks to alert the installation about a test on the first day of school and scares all the parents, a suggestion to simply adjust the timing of the test would be appropriate. Suggestions on how to improve something are always received better than just complaining.

Always give your name and contact information and request a follow-up. I’m sure there are situations where you don’t want the person or service you’re commenting on to know who you are -- but I’ve yet to personally come across one. By leaving your name and contact information and telling them you want a follow-up, you give the message that this is a subject about which you are invested.

If you’re commenting on a problem you can use active help with, this will make sure you get it. If you are complaining about something less life-changing -- like a constantly overflowing trash can at the playground -- you at least give the message to the reader that this is something you really want to see fixed.

And, finally, remember that if someone doesn’t say something, the problem will likely never get fixed. Yes, it is the job of the Child and Youth Services director to make sure her people are doing their job. But she can’t be everywhere at once – you get to be eyes on the scene, too.

Now go forth and leave an ICE comment on something!

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