DigitalGov Summit Recap: Innovation Through Customer Experience

Oct 30, 2015

Meeting customer needs can be done, no matter what agency you represent.

A panel discussion at the 2015 DigitalGov Citizen Services Summit delved into customer experience (CX) work at three agencies with diverse missions.

A business concept compass graphic, with the arrow pointing towards the word customer.

olm26250, iStock, Thinkstock

Andrew Hughey, Product Development Director at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), moderated the panel that featured Stephanie Thum, Vice President of Customer Experience at the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), and David Simeon, myUSCIS product manager for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

To become customer-driven, agencies must first know their customers. Customer data is a starting point, but it is not enough.

“We [are] fortunate enough to have plenty of demographics about our customers,” Simeon said. “We have studies done by independent organizations; we have studies done by ourselves. But, demographics and quantitative numbers don’t really tell the true story.”

Usability testing, journey mapping, focus groups and interviews with customers and stakeholders are a few of the ways the IRS delves into the customer experience, Hughey said. They even look at app store reviews.

Thum pointed out internal data plays an important role in balancing customer expectations with the reality of working with a federal agency. For Ex-Im Bank, transaction processing time is a key metric that requires both the internal and external perspectives.

“At Ex-Im Bank, we take a very strict view of processing time because our customers have told us that that’s very important, Thum said. “We have internal measurements where we measure processing time based on the product line, and we balance that with external metrics so that we can bring a holistic and authoritative view of our customers and our partners to the table.”

The panel also discussed how they share CX data, the benefits and reasons for improving CX and the changes that occurred in their agencies.