GAO Finds that TSA Needs to Improve Complaint Process
Think of this as a call to action to the contact center solutions community. There is opportunity out there for some enterprising folks not just to pitch some business, but to do something important for all of us who fly in the United States.
In a recently released report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the independent, non-partisan investigative arm of the Congress dedicated to monitoring and reporting on how the federal government spends tax dollars, the agency took to task the contact center practices of the Transportation Security Agency (TSA), the group responsible for airport security. The report, TSA Could Improve Complaint Process, paints an unimpressive picture of how the TSA has handled the 39,000 screening complaints it received from October 2009 through June 2012.
For readers with a desire to get a detailed explanation of the TSA screening complaint process and view in some granularity the number and nature of complaints submitted, the old saying, “read it and weep,” seems applicable here.
The facts speak for themselves. The GAO found that despite having five “mechanisms” for collecting screening complaints there is no agency-wide policy or process for dealing with them. Indeed, it found that, “TSA's complaint resolution processes do not fully conform to standards of independence to ensure that these processes are fair, impartial, and credible.” This is certain to be fuel for the fire of politicians at the federal level who like to use the TSA as a piñata to enhance their reputations for providing constituent friendly services with voters back home.
This led to a recommendation that may sound obvious but clearly needed articulation. GAO pointedly noted that TSA would be well-advised, “to establish a consistent policy to guide agency-wide efforts for receiving, tracking, and reporting air passenger screening complaints.”
Next generation contact centers to the rescue?
First let me say that while 39,000 plus complaints seems like a lot, and certainly not to trivialize the 43 percent of those which were about problematic pat-down searches, in relation to the over 700 million passengers flown on U.S. Airlines in 2011 even if many issues go un-reported this is fortunately a statistically small number of complaints. And, from a contact center perspective it represents a relatively low volume of interactions.
In fact, it is the size of the volume that made hope the TSA takes the GAO to heart and starts speaking to the contact center solutions community to help them fix their deficiencies. Whether it be assuring complaints are properly collected and routed to the appropriate people for investigation, improving workflow processes, and all of the other means by which the TSA could improve the customer experience of the complaint process, I know our industry is more than up to the challenge of dramatically improving almost every aspect of the TSA’s contact center operations.
That is the opportunity. Since I would rather not be put on a TSA watch list, I will leave it up to you to make the contacts and hopefully seal the deal. This is a case where if TSA is willing somebody is going to be able to do well by doing all of us some good.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman