5 Steps for Delivering a Better Customer Experience

Everyone wants to know how to provide outstanding customer experience in government. It can be difficult, because everyday our customers are also doing business with companies like Starbucks, Zappos, and Virgin America, that excel in customer service. Those experiences drive high expectations for interacting with any organization, including government agencies.

Customer experience–referred to in the industry as “CX”–is more than just a product. It’s about the perception your customer has every time they interact with your office, your agency or any product within your organization. Each time they interact with your website, contact your call center or any other channel, the perception of and trust they have in your organization and agency is impacted.

In my office, the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies at GSA, we launched an initiative to improve our customers’ experience. While we’re in the infancy of our CX program, our hope is to share our journey to help other agencies take the leap.

One of the key themes we’ve learned from our research is that to ensure a positive experience for your customers requires a bona fide commitment — not just a “check the box” exercise. It requires a concrete strategy with dedicated resources focused on assessing the customer experience and ensuring that there is a pipeline of initiatives to drive improvements. Changing your customers’ expectations doesn’t always happen overnight.

Here are 5 straightforward steps you can take to deliver a “wow” experience in government:

  • Determine who your most important customers are and the primary tasks they want to accomplish. These top tasks should be based on qualitative web analytics data.

  • Walk through the steps at completing a transaction using your website or organization to determine how long it takes for each step and to identify opportunities to streamline the process.

  • Identify their primary pain points.

  • Define clearly what you want the customer experience to be.

  • Identify a few initiatives that address some of the pain points and meet your proposed experience. Then pilot, pilot, pilot to see if these improvements work.

In the government, we’ve had numerous directives and guidance that direct agencies to improve customer service. While there are many agencies that have made improvements, there are many more where the service we provide to taxpayers could be improved. By collectively sharing what works and what doesn’t, we can all be more efficient in how we approach this important work.

In my next post I’ll share how we kicked off our CX program. I look forward to hearing from different organizations about how you’ve set up a CX program or any other roads you’ve taken to improve the digital experience for your customers.