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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Customer Satisfaction- Required for Some Counties

Customer satisfaction is the degree to which there is match between the customer’s expectations of the product and the actual performance of the product. Expectations are formed based on information consumers receive from promotions, family, friends, opinion leaders, research, and past experience with the product.
Customer satisfaction is an important measure of the ability of an organization to successfully meet the needs of its customer. It also helps demonstrate an organization’s worth and effectiveness to its stakeholders which is critical in maintaining their support.

The concept of customer satisfaction is easily transferred to Extension programming – with the product being an “educational program.” To assure continued relations with our clientele in the future, we need to ask basic questions:
  • How satisfied are they with the product they receive?
  • Are we meeting their expectations?
  • What are we doing right? Wrong?
  • How can we improve to keep their support?
  • Did the product help them make a decision about their own situation?
The customer satisfaction program within Texas AgriLife Extension Service is designed to address these basic questions to help ensure the agency continues to provide timely, relevant, and effective educational programs to the citizen of Texas.

It is also a state-mandated performance measure for our agency. Counties need to give attention and care to this data collection effort as its critical to our agency’s continued existence and programmatic success.
Organizational Development has designed two sets of scan forms (standard and with client change) that counties can choose from to meet their customer satisfaction reporting requirement
Counties required to participate in customer satisfaction reporting for FY 10-11 are listed below:

District 11
Aransas
Jackson
Karnes
Wharton

What a Required County Must Do to Comply
  1. Each agent within a required county must use any version of a standard or customer satisfaction with outcomes scan form (click here to download forms http://od.tamu.edu/evaluation/scan-forms/download-forms/customer-satisfaction-scan-forms/)  for at least two program events within the fiscal year (September 1 – August 31).
  2. Submit the scan forms from step 1 and a completed cover sheet to Organizational Development for processing (click here for mailing instructions http://od.tamu.edu/evaluation/scan-forms/sending-your-forms/). Also, to ensure agents meet the outcome summary reporting deadline (typically in early December) they should not sit on their completed forms; send them in ASAP as processing volume around the deadline is heavy and takes longer than usual.
  3. Steps 1 and 2 must be done by each agent within a required county for each fiscal year (FY10 & FY11)
http://od.tamu.edu/files/2010/03/Texas-Counties-FY11.pdf
 Failure to comply with  performance measures, such as customer satisfaction, can severely impact appropriated funding. Compliance with this performance measure should be treated as a significant part of Agents professional obligations.

Excellent Drought Resources available from the EDEN Network

A severe drought continues  to have a grip the Coastal Bend of Texas and is forcing ranchers to liquidate their herds, farmers to fear for their crops and municipalities to restrict residential water use. Texas AgriLife Extension Service has developed and compiled some  very useful drought materials that has been posted on the Texas Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN). These resources can be viewed by clicking on the following link: http://texashelp.tamu.edu/004-natural/droughts.php

The Basics of Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) 

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed into law on February 5, 1993, and became effective on August 5, 1993.  Since its inception, County Extension Agents have had questions regarding this federal law.  FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable leave for certain family and medical reasons.

FMLA provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks of job protection and continuation of benefits coverage while on leave due to certain family and medical emergencies. Employees are eligible for FMLA if they have completed 12 months of state service (does not have to be continuous) and have worked more than 1250 hours within the past 12 months.

State employees are required to use all available paid leave before using unpaid leave. FMLA coverage runs at the same time as paid and unpaid leave used for the FMLA-qualifying event.
FMLA qualifying events includes;
  • Birth of a child.
  • Placement in employee’s home of a child for adoption or state-certified foster care.
  • Employee’s serious health condition (illness, injury or pregnancy)
  • To care for employee’s spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition.
If an employee is using leave due to the birth of child, adoption of a child younger than 3 years of age, or placement for foster care of a child younger than 3 years of age and the employee is not eligible for FMLA than Parental Leave coverage is used.  Parental Leave provides up to 12 weeks of job protection only.

On January 28, 2008, President Bush signed into law H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008 (NDAA), Pub. L. 110-181. Among other things, section 585 of the NDAA amends the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) to permit a “spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin” to take up to 26 workweeks of leave to care for a “member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness.”  The NDAA also permits an employee to take FMLA leave for “any qualifying exigency (as the Secretary [of Labor] shall, by regulation, determine) arising out of the fact that the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation.”

For more information regarding the Family Medical Leave Act contact Human Resources or refer to the System Regulation, 31.03.05 Family and Medical Leave at http://policies.tamu.edu/31-03-05.pdf

District 11 Personnel News:

Sarah Womble, County Extension Agent FCS in Victoria County will assume her new duties as the District 10 4-H Specialist starting September 1st. Please join me in congratulating Sarah on her new appointment. We have had the great fortune to have had Sarah in District 11 for many years and I know she will do a great job providing leadership to the District 10 4-H program. On behalf of the District I would like to thank her for her service to our District and to the Victoria County Extension program.

Julie Ketelson, County Extension Agent FCS in Washington County will be resigning her position effective July 29th, Julie will be moving to New Mexico, to pursue her advanced degree. Join me in wishing Julie much luck in her future endeavors, and thanking her for her service to the Washington County Extension program and our District.