An introduction to customer experience

Improving customer experience (CX) drives better performance in the federal government

What is customer experience?

Customer experience (CX) is a person’s perception of an organization as a total sum of all of their experiences with that organization. For federal agencies, customer experience goes beyond individual transactions, or even a single agency, and encompasses the public’s entire journey with government services. This includes everything from finding information to resolving issues. A deliberate customer experience strategy is to proactively design systems with the user in mind.

When the public has positive interactions with a government service, it builds trust in the government as a whole. Furthermore, a strong customer experience focus makes government more effective and efficient, saving both the public and the government time and resources.

The ultimate goal of customer experience in the federal government is to ensure that our services successfully meet the public’s needs, leading to better outcomes for individuals, and the nation.

Why focus on customer experience?

A recent study showed that customers are on average nine times more likely to trust a government agency if they’re satisfied with its service.[1] By focusing on the customer’s needs and expectations, you can create more user-friendly and efficient processes, provide more timely and helpful support, and deliver better experiences. This can lead to increased public satisfaction, greater trust in government, and improved outcomes for all.

Engage in comprehensive customer and user research, both qualitatively and quantitatively, for deeper insights into customer needs and preferences. By proactively identifying pain points and areas for improvement, you can gain a better understanding of user perceptions and align services more closely with customer expectations. This proactive approach enhances customer experience and reduces public burden.

How to start measuring customer experience

Measuring a customer’s experience provides insight on how to improve a digital product or service. Tracking the customer journey involves collecting and analyzing data from various sources to effectively understand customer interactions.

Here are some approaches you can use to leverage customer feedback and analytics:

  • Use web analytics to track user behavior such as page views and user engagement. Use the Digital Analytics Program (DAP), a free web analytics tool for all public-facing federal websites, to gather this data.
  • Collect feedback from various sources to gain a better understanding of how customers interact with your digital product or service. For example, you can use Touchpoints, a free tool designed to collect customer feedback and manage customer experience initiatives, to simplify the process of collecting and reporting customer feedback.
  • Conduct usability tests with users to identify customer pain points.
  • Analyze the data and information to identify areas that should be improved.
  • Iterate to continuously improve and enhance customer experience.

What can I do next?

If you manage a federal website, be sure you understand the requirements for transforming federal customer experience and service delivery to rebuild trust in government. Also, learn how to use and optimize the Digital Analytics Program and Touchpoints.

For example, at GSA, the agency’s Digital Presence Guidelines state, “All GSA public-facing websites must participate in the federal Digital Analytics Program by including the DAP tracking code on your website. All GSA public-facing websites should review site usage and search metrics at least monthly, and use the data to make informed decisions on how to continuously improve your site and exceed customer expectations. In addition to DAP, GSA sites have access to the free standard version of Google Analytics. GSA program offices should use this version of Google Analytics on your external and internal websites, if you need data capabilities above and beyond what DAP offers.”