Commissaries Offer Shoppers New Way to Ask Questions … and Get Answers

Commissaries Offer Shoppers New Way to Ask Questions … and Get Answers
Photo by Christian Turner/Air Force

A small change to gathering customer feedback will allow Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) officials to interact directly with shoppers, with a pledge to answer survey recipients’ questions within 72 hours.

 

After commissary shoppers complete a purchaser survey – by visiting this link and having a copy of their receipt handy – they’ll see a contact page where they can provide a name, email address and (optional) phone number if they’d like an answer direct from DeCA to any questions. They’ll get one within 72 hours, according to a recent DeCA press release, and their contact information won’t be saved.

 

DeCA has received 13,000 survey responses in the past 12 months, per the release, with one common request being the ability to get a direct response to shopper feedback.

 

“DeCA officials can’t offer solutions unless they’re aware of problems,” said Lt. Col. Mark Belinsky, USA (Ret), MOAA’s director of government relations for currently serving and retired affairs. “We encourage all beneficiaries to make their voices heard — to let DeCA know what’s working well and to identify problems that need addressed, so your benefit remains strong.”

 

[RELATED: After Years of Decline, the Military's Commissary System Just Had Its Highest Sales Day Ever]

 

While the survey will help DeCA address issues at individual locations, MOAA remains engaged with protecting the shopping benefit as a whole, working with lawmakers to ensure a related provision in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) reaches the final bill. The House language would require the Defense Resale Agency to conduct another business case analysis (BCA) of a proposed commissary-exchange back-office consolidation; a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found significant issues with the initial BCA that may have overestimated savings and underestimated costs from a potential merger.

 

“MOAA’s interest is in preserving the shopper’s earned benefit, as well as preserving the morale, welfare, and recreation funds generated by exchange sales – it’s not clear what consolidation would mean for that revenue stream,” Belinsky said. “We are supportive of finding efficiencies and passing those savings along to shoppers, but many questions remain about how this consolidation would make that happen, and whether the initial consolidation costs would make it impractical.”

 

You can keep up with the latest MOAA advocacy news, including NDAA updates, here.

 

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About the Author

Kevin Lilley
Kevin Lilley

Lilley serves as MOAA's digital content manager. His duties include producing, editing, and managing content for a variety of platforms, with a concentration on The MOAA Newsletter and MOAA.org. Follow him on Twitter: @KRLilley