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New PCS Rule Gives Users More Power Over Movers

Have a really bad moving crew? Starting in May 2014, a new rule gives you a bigger say in whether or not they get to keep working for the government. But to make it work, you've got to fill out the survey.

Under the current plan what you turned in on a 10 question customer satisfaction survey counted towards 50 percent of any given mover's performance score. Under the new rule what you say on that survey will instead count towards 70 percent.

Those scores are used to rank movers in the transportation system. In theory, the best movers are at the top of the list and they not so great ones are at the bottom. If a company gets consistently bad scores they could be removed from the list all together.

"Customer satisfaction surveys help weed out transportation service providers that are not performing to standard," Jill Smith, acting branch chief for Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's (SDDC) personal property directorate quality assurance division.

The current plan rates movers according to three criteria. The customer survey counts for 50 percent of the score. Another 20 percent is based on how quickly the contractor settles any claims you file with them for broken stuff. And the final 30 percent is based on what the department calls "rate score," based on how much the company is charging. The lower the price, the higher the rate score.

But because of a glitch in the Defense Personal Property System's (DPS) program, rating movers on settled claims was not working the way SDDC officials had hoped. Instead of continuing with a broken process, they decided to increase the weight of the survey to 70 percent while they work on a fix for the claims portion, they said.

Unless a moving provider is shown to very clearly not be qualified from the local office's perspective, movers across the system are only re-ranked four times a year. When that happens, the customer surveys are used to see where the mover will be ranked for the next round. Customer feedback can be the difference between a mover being at the top of the list, at the bottom or off it completely.

"The important thing is making sure all of the customer fill it out in a timely manner so we can really see immediate trends," Smith said.

Six of the 12 questions on the survey focus on the movers, while the rest look at the moving office at your base and whether or not your unit gave you enough time to move.

A link to the survey is emailed to everyone who uses the moving system seven, 14 and 21 days after your household goods are delivered. The faster you fill it out, the faster your experience counts towards the re-ranking of the movers.

DPS officials said it's important for service members and their families to not only fill out the survey if they have a bad experience -- but also if they have a good one.

"It's not always a bad thing to have a survey," Smith said. "It's human nature to report the bad things instead of the good things. ... but we do like good feedback as well. That helps keep quality movers motivated and incentivized."Recently the response rate to the survey from military personnel has been about 42 percent, up from 2012 when only about 30 percent of those sent the survey responded. Officials are hoping to increase that number by highlighting just how impactful the survey is.

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