Speedy Access: Kiosks Provide the Housing Information Soldiers Need
by Curtis Savoy
Recently, two exceptional classes at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, unveiled the changes involved in transitioning from the Community Homefinding Referral and Relocation Service (CHRRS) to the newly developed, more global approach to customer service— the Housing Services Office (HSO). Tim Young from MHLI conducted the classes, which were well received.
I highly recommend getting as many of your staff as possible to attend the classes, HSO 100–Introduction to HSO and HSO 200–HSO Management Introduction, in order to get on board with the new requirements.
In support of the new HSO standards, Fort Lee, Virginia, is taking the lead with some great customer service initiatives. One improvement was inviting our Army Community Service (ACS) partners to join us in a collaborative effort to improve the quality and types of services we provide customers. As a result of this partnering effort, a financial counselor is now housed in the housing office. This has turned out to be a great asset and proven to be equally beneficial to our customers, ACS and Housing.
For those customers who need a little extra help on the financial front, that
assistance is now readily available. Customers can gain an understanding of what their limits are for rental or purchase costs. This, in turn, enables them to make a more informed housing choice,
and it also allows our agents to individualize their customer briefings.
Improved Resource Center
Another accomplished initiative was expanding and improving our Resource Center. We wanted it to be more userfriendly and informative. The center is packed with information about the local
area, rentals, sale listings, maps, and information pertinent to a permanent change of station, either in or out. And, we haven’t forgotten about our customers who are not leaving us—information and assistance with local landlord/tenant rental laws, service order research and submittal (for those living on post), school information, and more are readily available.
At the heart of the Resource Center are three multifunctional work stations, complete with phones and touch-screen kiosks. We partnered with the DynaTouch Corporation and purchased four desktop touch-screen kiosks. Three of the kiosks are installed in our Resource Center and one is installed at ACS.
The work stations allow users access to a world of information. Soldiers can quickly access Army Housing-One-Stop (AHOS) to check BAH rates for the local or any other area, find information about schools, search local rental listings through the Automated Housing Referral Network (AHRN), search and apply for jobs, and more. The list of information is virtually endless.
If you think that this must be extremely time-consuming based on normal Internet connections through a standard PC, think again. Users are not allowed total untethered access to the Internet. The kiosks use “hot links,” which direct users to information far more quickly than can be accessed through a standard PC. All of the guesswork and time spent running down broken links and going to useless sites are eliminated. By simply touching the screen, users can search for and gather all needed information. Best of all, each kiosk has printer support through our LAN. Users can print any information that they can see on the screen.
The kiosks are designed to put information directly in the hands of those who need it the most—our customers. We see the kiosks as an extension of our staff, not as a replacement. This is just one step in our goal to provide the best possible service to our customers.
To date, all customer comments have been exceptionally positive, and we feel that the more people learn about the features and services offered, the more they will take advantage of them. We strongly feel that this is a step in the right direction as we transition from the CHRRS to HSO.
We look forward to a long, fruitful relationship with all of our partners. We must work intimately together, sharing information, resolving technicalities, and motivating one another to think bigger and better for the sake of our customers.
Curtis Savoy is the Chief of Housing/RCI Asset Manager at Fort Lee, Virginia.