NOAA team focuses on ways to better serve customers

By: Melissa Schneider / Published: Aug 06,  2008

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) wants to do a better job of serving its customers. For that reason, about 80 people from five NOAA line offices attended the NOAA Gulf of Mexico Regional Team’s Extension, Outreach and Education Workshop on Aug. 12-13 in Mobile, Ala.

In breakout sessions, participants discussed best practices for maximizing NOAA’s responsiveness, respect for partners, academic neutrality, accessibility, integration, coordination and resource partnerships. Some ideas included developing and implementing a NOAA marketing campaign, developing a speakers bureau and creating an inventory of NOAA products, services and the distribution centers where they are available.

A stakeholder panel of nearly 20 people shared their ideas about what NOAA could do to better reach its customers through extension, outreach and education activities. NOAA customers include anyone who uses its scientific information, products, technology or services.

Stakeholders said that NOAA should brand itself, perhaps with a marketing campaign to let people know what it is and what it does. They also recommended creating the inventory of NOAA products and distribution centers so people could know what materials are available and where to get them.

Speakers at the event talked about the NOAA Science Advisory Board’s extension, outreach and education recommendations; the Sea Grant Academy; using joint fact finding to empower NOAA customers; and the One NOAA concept for engagement, among other subjects.

"The Gulf of Mexico Extension, Outreach and Education Workshop was a real step forward for NOAA and the Regional Collaboration effort,” said NOAA Director of Education Louisa Koch. “The workshop identified best practices for how we engage our customers, connect with research programs and support durable natural resource decisions. This effort will improve our ability to assist people making complex resource decisions and more effectively bring NOAA science to life."

To learn more about the information collected during this workshop, go to and click on “Workshop Results.”

NOAA customers speak 
A panel of nearly 20 NOAA customers gave their opinions about what NOAA could do to improve service. Here are a few of their responses:

  • Interact with children and bring NOAA to the classroom
  • Reach out to social science to expand NOAA capabilities
  • Develop constant questioning of customer service performance
  • Engage across all line offices
  • Create a NOAA Engagement Council
  • Take technology to public outreach venues
  • Make Web information easier to access, search and locate
  • Create a way to give feedback to those who have offered input so they know it was heard and what NOAA is doing with it
  • Create an inventory of NOAA products and services and their distribution points
  • Create a brand so everyone knows what NOAA is and what it does


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