In January 2017, the U.S. Access Board published a final rule updating information technology (IT)accessibility requirements covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which includes IT that is developed, procured, maintained, or used by federal agencies. The Rehabilitation Act is a federal law which requires programs and activities funded by federal agencies to be accessible to people with disabilities, including federal employees and members of the public.
Employee engagement, evidenced by displays of dedication, persistence, effort and overall attachment to organization and mission, is a key factor in business success, but it can be a struggle for government organizations. Organizational leaders seeking to cultivate a culture of engagement need tangible examples of how to successfully move the needle in a positive direction. The annual Employee Viewpoint Survey (EVS) can provide agencies with a tangible way to measure employee engagement.
At GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (OCSIT), we offer technology services and tools to make government work better. To help us gauge the effectiveness of the programs we offer to other government agencies, in 2013 we launched our first Government Customer Experience Index (GCXi) survey. This annual email survey consistently measures customer satisfaction, loyalty and ease of use for various OCSIT programs. A previous post about the GCXi (OCSIT’s 2015 Customer Survey—What We Learned) generated lots of questions from readers about the back-end processes we use to conduct the survey and turn customer data into action.
Customer Experience (CX) is defined as the sum of all experiences a customer has with your organization. Since government is often a sole-source service provider (e.g., there’s only one place to pay taxes, or get a driver’s license), CX is even more important in the public sector than in other organizations. If that’s not enough to convince you, view this webinar on why federal agencies must improve CX. This Toolkit is intended to help government agencies improve how we deliver services and information to the public.
May 2016—GAO Report GAO-16-509 March 2016—OMB Memo M-16-08 Establishment of the Core Federal Services Council 6/15/2017: Eliminated by M-17-26, Reducing Burden for Federal Agencies by Rescinding and Modifying OMB Memoranda (PDF, 208KB, 12 pages, June 2017) October 2014—GAO Report GAO-15-84 August 2014—U.S. Digital Services Playbook March 2014—Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal – Customer Service May 2012—Digital Government Strategy – Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People
As a followup to the recent post about our annual customer satisfaction survey, we wanted to dig into the data and share some of the overall results, to give you some more insights into how we’re using your feedback to improve our programs and services. Background: For the past three years, GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (OCSIT) has conducted an annual survey to measure customer satisfaction.
Customer experience, or CX, is everywhere these days. Companies tout how they’re improving the customer experience with faster service, greater convenience or better products. If you’re wondering how customer “experience” differs from customer “service,” customer service usually involves a single interaction, such as a phone call to your cable company, while the customer experience encompasses the entire relationship, e.g., from how you originally selected your cable company, to their service throughout the course of your entire relationship with them.
Three years ago, GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (OCSIT) set out to design a system to consistently measure customer satisfaction across our office. We were inspired by the Digital Government Strategy, which tasks agencies to adopt a customer-centric approach to service delivery. Armed with tools such as the Digital Analytics Program (DAP), which offers guidance on common customer satisfaction metrics, we developed a Government Customer Experience Index (GCXi) for OCSIT.
The new Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST) aims to make government programs more effective and efficient. Amira Choueiki from the SBST joined us to explain what the SBST does, and to discuss some of the projects they’ve worked on. Amira also shared how agencies can propose projects for the SBST to tackle, and explained how social and behavioral sciences, customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) work together to enhance government products and services.
It’s not new that agencies are inundated with data, but what data should you collect to improve your agency’s programs and enhance the customer experience? The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefit Security Administration’s (EBSA) has been perfecting their process to collect actionable data for the past 14 years. EBSA is a regulatory agency that develops and enforces private sector employee benefit plans, such as 401Ks, traditional pensions, and health care benefit plans.
In honor of World Usability Day, which happened on November 12, we’d like to demystify two extremely important and oft-confusing acronyms—CX and UX. Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX), while related, focus on different aspects of service delivery. The New Landscape We first discussed this issue in the summer of 2014, in our UX vs. CX article, but a lot has changed in this space across government in the past year or so.
In 1992, Congress passed Public Law No: 102-481, which proclaimed the first full week in October as National Customer Service Week. Customer service is also a Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal, tasking agencies to “deliver world-class customer services to citizens by making it faster and easier for individuals and businesses to complete transactions and have a positive experience with government.” Federal agencies are encouraged to participate in Customer Service Week, to share how you’re working to improve service, and to recognize your agency’s customer service stars.
Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goals prioritize activities that all agencies must tackle each year. An important CAP Goal for 2015 addresses customer service and compels federal agencies to improve the quality of service the public receives from the federal government. To build on the momentum of this goal, the government Customer Experience Community of Practice (CX-COP) was launched in early 2015. The CX-COP supports collaboration and sharing among government customer experience practitioners.
In June, the new Customer Experience Community of Practice (CX-COP) hosted Jonathan Stahl, Executive Director of Ballpark Operations and Guest Experience of the Washington Nationals, to share best practices on how to deliver a great customer experience. Below are four insights he shared. Develop and Share Core Values The Nationals’ core organizational values are excellence, performance and accountability. The core values are posted prominently wherever employees gather, such as break rooms, on the way to the field, and in offices.
We recently sat down with Lisa Danzig, who’s leading work at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the FY15 Cross Agency Priority (CAP) goal on Customer Service (CS). The CS CAP goal aims to help agencies deliver world-class customer service to citizens that’s on par with leading private sector services by streamlining transactions, setting customer service standards for high impact services, and making it faster and easier to complete transactions with government online.
In December of 2004, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued the first Policies for Federal Public Websites. Over the past decade, we’ve seen technology completely transform how government delivers information and services to the public. On this 10-year anniversary, we’re taking a walk down memory lane to recap some of the pivotal moments that have shaped today’s digital government landscape. Year Activity 2004 February—Facebook launches (for colleges; opens to the public 2007) March—Interagency Committee on Government Information (ICGI) convenes to draft Web recommendations June—ICGI issues Recommendations for Federal Web Policies July—ICGI becomes the Web Content Management Working Group (predecessor to Federal Web Managers Council) August—HHS publishes its seminal Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines (foundation for Usability.
They say that customer experience (CX) is the new marketing. People will tell their friends about their experience with your agency, and social media makes it easy to broadcast whether the experience was easy and enjoyable, or terrible. In 1992, Congress proclaimed the first full week in October as National Customer Service Week, and as we close out Customer Service Week 2014, here’s a recap of some great customer-service-related articles published on DigitalGov.
Meet Hannah Rubin, who works in the Congressional Research Service (CRS) at the Library of Congress. She’s the focus of this month’s Member Spotlight. In addition to her “real” job, she’s also currently working as a “20%-er” with the DigitalGov User Experience Program via our Open Opportunities program. What do you love most about your current job/position? CRS has a unique mission: to provide objective, nonpartisan, confidential, and authoritative research and analysis for Congress throughout the legislative process.
Welcome to the first edition of a new series of articles spotlighting members of our Government Web Manager Community. This month, we introduce Jill James, who’s the Senior Web Editor/Director for the Department of Education, in their Communications and Outreach Office. We asked Jill a few questions about her work at Dept. of Ed, as well as her life outside of work, and we’re happy for the chance to get to know her better!
The Web now contains over 1.51 billion pages of content, according to WorldWideWebSize.com. That’s a lot of reading material, and a lot of content competing with yours for attention. People won’t waste time (even a few seconds) on an article that doesn’t matter to them in some way—not when there are so many other interesting things to read on the Web. But what makes something “tweet-worthy?” What can you do to capture your audience’s attention and entice them to share broadly in their networks?
Use and customize these sample position descriptions to hire your own digital gov team. Position descriptions, as defined by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), include an official series, title, and grade based on the results of a classification determination. Accessibility Web Development and Accessibility Specialist (MS Word, 22 KB, 1 page, September 2012) Analytics Web Analytics Manager, GS-14 (MS Word, 30 KB, 1 page, September 2012) Content Management / Strategy Content Strategist (IT Specialist) GS-12 (PDF, 75 KB, 7 pages, July 2014) Health Systems Specialist (DigitalGov) GS-14 (MS Word, 21KB, 4 pages, July 2014) Content Coordinator, General (MS Word, 19 KB, 1 page, September 2012) National Web Content Manager (MS Word, 18 KB, 1 page, September 2012) Content Strategist (IT Specialist), GS-12 (MS Word, 33.
We won’t build the government of the 21st century by drawing within the lines. We don’t have to tell you the hard work of building a digital government doesn’t exist in a vacuum or a bubble. Show us social media without mobile, Web without data and user experience without APIs. You can’t? That’s right—in reality, digital government intersects and cuts across boundaries every day in order to deliver the digital goods.
The Digital Services Advisory Group and the Federal Web Managers Council have developed the following guidelines to meet the 6.1 milestone of the Digital Government Strategy. These recommendations apply to all digital services, including Web, mobile, apps, APIs, and online forms. Guidelines Guideline 1: Digital Strategy Integrate your digital presence into your agency’s overall business, communications, and customer experience strategy Guideline 2:
Digital Marketing Evangelist and analytics guru Avinash Kaushik recently published a fascinating article on Six Visual Solutions To Complex Digital Marketing/Analytics Challenges. The article is especially relevant to government organizations, because it talks about the importance of dynamic vs. static content. Government agencies tend to have a LOT of static content on our websites… but once someone has read an article on your site, will they ever come back? How can we draw in new readers, and re-engage past visitors to return?
Protect Your Customer’s Privacy Federal agencies must follow various laws and regulations, including the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and the Privacy Act, when collecting information from the public. You should also be familiar with SORN (Systems of Records Notice), as well as rules around personally identifiable information, and laws that relate to your specific method of feedback collection (such as Section 508 compliance for online surveys). Paperwork Reduction Act The PRA was designed, among other things, to maximize the quality and usefulness of information created, used and shared by the federal government, while preventing unnecessary burdens on respondents.
You should regularly review your agency’s websites and other digital products and services to ensure they comply with all relevant laws, policies, and regulations. Overarching Policies These high-level policies cover basic requirements for all digital products and services. Digital Government Strategy (May 2012) OMB M-17-06, Policies for Federal Agency Public Websites and Digital Services (PDF, 1.2 MB, 18 pages, November 2016) OMB Circular A-130, Managing Information as a Strategic Resource (July 28, 2016) E-Government Act of 2002, Section 207 Accessibility/Section 508 Ensure access for people with disabilities, including motor, auditory, cognitive, seizure/neurological, and visual impairments; ensure content is “perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
Why Invest in a Content Management System? Does it take too long to update and post digital content? Do you lack consistent branding across your website(s)? Is outdated, redundant content leading to a poor customer experience? Does your agency website show up too far down in search results? Are you re-creating the same content for different platforms such as Web or mobile? A content management system (CMS) can address these issues and significantly improve how your agency delivers and manages digital information—positively impacting your bottom line.
Improving the federal government’s ability to deliver digital information anytime, anywhere, on any device—via open content—is a key goal of the Digital Government Strategy. A content management system (CMS) can help your agency move to an open content model, making it easier for people to find, share, use, and re-use your information. The key steps in getting ready to move to a CMS include: Prepare Your Content Choose a CMS Migrate Your Content to a CMS Prepare Your Content Develop a Content Strategy A content strategy defines such things as topics, themes and purpose, and can also play a part in website governance, customer experience, metadata and search engine optimization (SEO).
Structured content refers to the concept of organizing and treating digital content like data. It’s a way of publishing content as modular, discrete pieces of information that are tagged with machine-readable descriptions. Structured content has the potential to transform how people find, understand, share, and use government information. Why Structured Content Matters Most digital content published by the federal government is still found on static HTML Web pages. This unstructured content doesn’t always adapt well to smaller screens, and it’s harder to discover, share, or reuse the information.
The Canadian government is changing how we think of traditional Web management. They built a platform of standards-compliant (HTML5, WCAG and WAI-ARIA), accessible and secure components that its agencies (and even provincial and municipalities) can use to build and maintain their sites. They are also focused on optimizing for mobile devices and improving usability and interoperability through their platform. Paul Jackson, project lead and one of the lead developers for Canada’s Web Experience Toolkit, or WET, shared details about the toolkit and how anyone can get involved, during a DigitalGov University webinar, April 17.