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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Satisfaction is up at military grocery stores, and the Defense Commissary Agency is paying to keep it that way.

The agency will spend $2.4 million to train every one of its 18,000 employees worldwide, even with “customer satisfaction at an all-time high,” DeCA said this week.

DeCA said it will be its first-ever corporate training and an expense of $133 per employee — from headquarters administrators to store associates.

So, why spend the money if shoppers are happy?

“Yes, our scores have shown a high degree of customer satisfaction but the results are not the same at each store,” DeCA Director and CEO Philip E. Sakowitz Jr. said, responding to Stars and Stripes in an e-mail.

The agency is trying to standardize service — including the quality of customer service — at its chain of commissaries that stretches around the world, he said.

DeCA described it as a “lofty goal.” The move comes at a time when many agencies are cutting back expenses due to the poor economy.

The money for the training will come from DeCA’s annual operating budget, Sakowitz said.

“Our military customers deserve the best service that can be delivered and there is no better time than right now to start,” he said.

DeCA said it signed a contract June 26 with Dale Carnegie Training, which was founded by the author of the famous self-improvement guide “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” The training is slated for August.


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