Earlier this year, we published 15 Government Customer Service Trends for 2015. We’re halfway through the year now—how are these trends holding up? 1. Centralized Customer Offices A few agencies have created centralized customer offices, while others question the need for a single organization that focuses on the customer. As the public’s overall satisfaction with the federal government continues to fall, a single organization can monitor customer feedback from across the enterprise to identify and address problems with the customer experience (CX).
With public expectations at an all-time high, and trust in government nearing all-time lows, agencies need to step up their game. Veterans, seniors, students, taxpayers—all Americans—deserve the best service from their government. Here are our predictions for how the federal government will improve customer service in the coming year: 1. Many agencies will create a Customer Office that reports to the head of the agency. In most government agencies, no one owns the overall customer experience.
Before you can create your customer experience (CX) strategy, you have to answer the key question: Who are your customers? Consider the concept that among the groups you interact with internally, you could be their customer, they could be your customer, or you could be partners. In our office, we have two organizations that support our programs: a business office and the internal technology support organization. Our business office includes personnel, contracting, budget, space, etc.
In the Discipline of Market Leaders by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema, we learned about the importance of being clear about your strategic priority. What unique value do you bring to the marketplace and your customers? In this book, they describe three strategic priorities of operational excellence, product leadership and customer intimacy. Companies that focus on operational excellence don’t innovate products or service. However, they do operate a hassle-free service with low prices.
While we think about the audience, we don’t often map out the experience we want them to have when using our services. This is critical information for the design. In other cases, we may not have the data to analyze existing customers’ needs–or worse–may not consider who the potential customers are. Making decisions on a limited customer base can lead to services p/s that don’t meet the overall needs.
In our very first customer experience (CX) blog post about GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies’ (OCSIT) Customer Experience Program, we published our principles and values. Our core principles say that all staff will: Take responsibility for providing an experience greater than customer expectations. Engage, listen and resolve. Design business from the outside in, not the inside out. Incorporate customer experience as a key success metric in everything we do.
What’s one of the most important factors in delivering a good customer experience? When I first began learning about customer experience, one of the biggest surprises was the importance of culture. Organizational culture can be defined as the values and behavior that contribute to the unique and psychological environment of an organization.It’s based on shared attitudes, beliefs, customs, and written and unwritten rules that have been developed over time and are considered valued.
Do you know who your customers are? And what they expect from your organization? One of the most critical components of a successful customer experience program is to understand your customer. The first step is knowing who your customers are. Are they veterans, students, senior citizens or other federal workers? In some cases your customers could wear many different hats when interacting with your agency. They could be a veteran, a caregiver, a parent, and a federal worker, all rolled into one.
In my last post I talked about how we’re kicking off our Customer Experience program in the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (OCSIT) at GSA. There are many paths to creating a customer experience program, from starting with cultural issues like employee engagement and telling our customer experience stories, to events highlighting the plan moving forward. While we have been working diligently on employee engagement issues and talking about customer experience for a while, devising measurable outcomes to drive behavior change and new processes is our approach.
The vision for my office, the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (OCSIT) at GSA, is simple: Deliver a world-class experience to the public when accessing government information and services – anytime, anywhere – through the delivery channel they choose. We create and leverage products, services and approaches federal agencies can easily adopt that will enhance their ability to innovate, deliver services, engage the public, and save valuable resources.
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.