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ICE comments heat up workplace improvement

The Army relies on data – and for leadership to know what is working, and to understand where changes should be made – they need your input.

As part of a customer-focused workforce, Fort Belvoir provides everyone a chance to submit feedback through the Interactive Customer Evaluation, or ICE, which is a real-time link to leaders and managers, spanning hundreds of service providers across the installation.

John Backus, the garrison ICE manager who analyzes data for the Plans, Analysis & Integration Office, said feedback through ICE comments can help supervisors better understand the effectiveness of their Service Culture Campaign.

“The supervisor can’t be everywhere, so it gives a great opportunity for them to see how their team is working, and what the customer is actually thinking,” Backus said. “I analyze the ICE data and provide a garrison-wide analysis to the garrison commander as well as an overall view on how each service is doing. That's a key part of our continual process improvement.”

John Backus, Fort Belvoir ICE manager







John Backus, Garrison ICE manager

Your feedback is important because it provides a formal document of your complaint or compliment and notifies associated management that you are serious about sharing your experience.

Backus said there are several best practices for useful feedback, but the most important is to just do it.



·         Submit an ICE comment.

·         While not required, your contact information can help if follow-up is needed.

·         Make a suggestion for how you think the process could work better.

“Take that extra minute to fill out an ICE comment – good or bad – because your input is valuable. We look at every comment that’s made,” said Backus, adding, “That can help reveal a gap in service that we’re not seeing.”

The advantage of leaving contact information is that the unit receiving the ICE comment has three days to respond to you. Backus said the commander receives quarterly briefings on trends, though if a serious problem is reported through ICE, it goes immediately to the chain of command.

“The commander takes that very seriously; it’s one of his most important tools to keep the team going, and it provides accountability as well,” Backus said. “It keeps the workforce on their toes. They can't be mistreating people because it will get reported.”

ICE managers who respond to comments are prohibited from using contact information as a means to track down a customer for retaliation. In fact, ICE policy prohibits retribution and protects customers.

Do not submit threatening or angry comments. If you find yourself extremely upset because of your customer service experience, take a moment to understand that the ICE manager that is reading your comments is not necessarily responsible for the problem. ICE managers work with many organizations and mission partners to help resolve concerns.


The Service Culture Campaign can also use ICE as a workforce recognition mechanism. Did you know that eight out of 10 ICE comments at USAG-Fort Belvoir are positive?

Our garrison commander’s first question to every garrison team member and family he meets is, ‘what can we do better?’ and this mechanism provides enough data points to reveal trends and can possibly be the biggest mover of change.

For example, a sudden increase in complaints may provide justification for more funding, manning and resources. Similarly, trending positive comments toward an organization may strengthen its foothold in the community and may prevent downsizing.

There is an effort underway to make ICE more accessible to customer-facing spaces, and Backus said there will be greater use of QR codes at desks to link you immediately with that organization’s ICE page.

Backus said for him, it’s a constant reminder that we are here to serve the community.

“I'm big on that,” he said. “I served 23 years. The Army saved my life, and I'm still giving back to the Army.”

You can submit your own comment card at

Paul Lara, Fort Belvoir Public Affairs