Government Customer Service Policies & Requirements: 1993 to Present

May 2016—GAO Report GAO-16-509

March 2016—OMB Memo M-16-08 Establishment of the Core Federal Services Council

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

June 2011—OMB M-11-26 – Fast-Track Process for Collecting Service Delivery Feedback Under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PDF, 200 KB, 4 pages, June 2011)

June 2011—OMB Memo M-11-24 – Implementing Executive Order 13571 on Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service (PDF, 2.5 MB, 6 pages, June 2011)

April 2011—Executive Order 13571 – Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service

January 2011—GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) (PDF, 172 KB, 20 pages, January 2011)

April 2010—Social Media, Web-Based Interactive Technologies, and the Paperwork Reduction Act (PDF, 85 KB, 7 pages, April 2010)

December 2009—Open Government Directive (PDF, 82 KB, 11 pages, December 2009)

December 2002—E-Government Act of 2002

March 1998—Memorandum on Conducting ‘‘Conversations With America’’ To Further Improve Customer Service (PDF, 110 KB, March 1998, 2 pages)

March 1995—Presidential Memo on Improving Customer Service (PDF, 110 KB, 2 pages, March 1995)

September 1993—Executive Order 12862 – Setting Customer Service Standards (PDF, 12 KB, 2 pages, September 1993)

January 1993—Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA)

Detailed List

May 20, 2016GAO-16-509

Managing for Results: OMB Improved Implementation of Cross-Agency Priority Goals, But Could Be More Transparent About Measuring Progress. See “Full Report” PDF to read the findings.

**March 30, 2016OMB Memo M-16-08 Establishment of the Core Federal Services Council

**

October 2014GAO Report GAO-15-84

MANAGING FOR RESULTS: Selected Agencies Need to Take Additional Efforts to Improve Customer Service

August 11, 2014—U.S. Digital Services Playbook

Build digital services that meet the needs and expectations of the American people.

Digital Service Plays:

  • Understand what people need
  • Address the whole experience, from start to finish
  • Make it simple and intuitive
  • Build the service using agile and iterative practices
  • Structure budgets and contracts to support delivery
  • Assign one leader and hold that person accountable
  • Bring in experienced teams
  • Choose a modern technology stack
  • Deploy in a flexible hosting environment
  • Automate testing and deployments
  • Manage security and privacy through reusable processes
  • Use data to drive decisions
  • Default to open

March 2014—Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal – Customer Service

Created the new set of CAP goals – including customer service.

GOAL STATEMENT: 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.

  • Streamline transactions.
  • Develop standards for high impact services.
  • Utilize technology to improve the customer experience.

May 2012—Digital Government – Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People

Design and deliver digital services with customer service first in mind and reflect the technologies used by today’s customers. Agencies must respond to customers’ needs and make it easy to find and share information and accomplish important tasks “anytime, anywhere, any device.”

Use customer-centric design principles; focus efforts where they’ll have the most impact and value; institutionalize performance measurement, and continuously improve services in response to those measurements.

  • Deliver Better Digital Services Using Modern Tools and Technologies
  • Improve Priority Customer-Facing Services for Mobile Use
  • Measure Performance and Customer Satisfaction to Improve Service Delivery

June 15, 2011—OMB M-11-26 – Fast-Track Process for Collecting Service Delivery Feedback Under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PDF, 200 KB, 4 pages, June 2011)

Established the Fast-Track PRA review, reducing the time required for agencies to get clearance to conduct customer surveys from several months to several weeks.

June 2011—OMB Memo M-11-24 – Implementing Executive Order 13571 on Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service (PDF, 2.5 MB, 6 pages, June 2011)

Requires that agencies develop customer service standards that are “understandable to the public, easily accessible at the point of service and on the Internet, and measurable (where appropriate); where possible, standards should include targets for speed, quality/accuracy, and satisfaction.”

  • Improve Customer Service Delivery
    • Publish Customer Service Plans
    • OMB Establish a Customer Service Task Force
  • Advance Customer Service through Innovative Technology
    • Each agency establish one “signature initiative” that uses technology to improve the customer experience
  • Solicit Timely Customer Feedback
    • Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) create a Paperwork Reduction Act “Fast Track” review process and Provide Guidance on Customer Feedback Options
  • Improve Online Services
    • Freeze Establishment of New Federal Executive Branch Domains
    • Update .Gov Domain Policy and Guidelines
    • Eliminate Duplicative and Outdated Websites

April 27, 2011—Executive Order 13571 – Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service

Requires agencies to develop, in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a Customer Service Plan to address how the agency will streamline service delivery and improve customer experience.

Requirements include:

  • Establishing one major initiative (signature initiative) that will use technology to improve the customer experience;
  • Establishing mechanisms to solicit customer feedback on Government services and using such feedback regularly to make service improvements;
  • Setting clear customer service standards and expectations, including, where appropriate, performance goals for customer service required by the GPRA (Government Performance and Results) Modernization Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-352);
  • Improving the customer experience by adopting proven customer service best practices and coordinating across service channels (such as online, phone, in-person, and mail services);
  • Streamlining agency processes to reduce costs and accelerate delivery, while reducing the need for customer calls and inquiries; and
  • Identifying ways to use innovative technologies to accomplish the customer service activities above, thereby lowering costs, decreasing service delivery times, and improving the customer experience.

Requires agencies to post customer service metrics and best practices online.

January 4, 2011—GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) (PDF, 172 KB, 20 pages, January 2011)

Enhanced requirements of GPRA requiring agencies to develop annual performance plans that must describe how performance goals are to be achieved, including establishing performance indicators to measure, as appropriate, customer service, efficiency, output, and outcome indicators. Measures should be quantifiable and measurable to define the level of performance to be achieved for program activities each year. Requires each agency performance plan should “establish a balanced set of performance indicators to be used in measuring or assessing progress toward each performance goal, including, as appropriate, customer service, efficiency, output and outcome indicators.

Established a Performance Improvement Council to consider performance improvement experiences of customers (e.g., corporations, nonprofit organizations, foreign, state and local governments) of government services.

April 7, 2010—Social Media, Web-Based Interactive Technologies, and the Paperwork Reduction Act (PDF, 85 KB, 7 pages, April 2010)

Clarifies that the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (the PRA) does not apply to many uses of social media and similar technologies, clearing the way for agencies to use social media and web-based interactive technologies to serve and engage with the public online.

December 8, 2009—Open Government Directive (PDF, 82 KB, 11 pages, December 2009)

Laid the groundwork for a transparent, participatory and collaborative government by: Publishing Government Information Online; Improving the Quality of Government Information; Creating and Institutionalizing a Culture of Open Government; Creating an Enabling Policy Framework for Open Government.

Open Government Plan:

  • Transparency: describe steps the agency will take to conduct its work more openly and publish its information online
  • Participation: promote opportunities for the public to participate throughout the decision-making process.
  • Collaboration: further cooperation with other Federal and non-Federal governmental agencies, the public, and nonprofit and private entities in fulfilling the agency’s core mission activities

December 2002—E-Government Act of 2002

Use information technology (IT) to transform agency business into a more citizen oriented and user friendly process.

March 3, 1998—Memorandum on Conducting “Conversations With America” To Further Improve Customer Service (PDF, 110 KB, March 1998, 2 pages)

Called for agencies to engage customers in conversations about how to improve Government services.

March 22, 1995—Presidential Memo on Improving Customer Service (PDF, 110 KB, 2 pages, March 1995)

Extends Executive Order 12862, which requires agencies to establish and implement customer service standards; survey customers and employees; benchmark; and publish customer service standards. For the first time, the Federal Government’s customers have been told what they have a right to expect when they ask for service.

Further stated that the government is customer-driven and customer-focused, and clarified expectations regarding agency actions, standards, and measurements, including measuring customer satisfaction as a standard benchmark. Recognized that “without satisfied employees, we cannot have satisfied customers.”

Agencies shall “on an ongoing basis measure results achieved against the customer service standards and should also include customer satisfaction as a measure.

  • Measure results achieved against the customer service standards and report those results to customers at least annually;
  • Integrate development and tracking of customer service measures, standards, and performance with other performance initiatives
  • Survey employees on ideas to improve customer service, motivate and recognize employees for meeting or exceeding customer service standards.
  • Initiate and support actions that cut across agency lines to serve shared customers

Customer service standards should relate to legislative activities, including strategic planning and performance measurement under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, reporting on financial and program performance under the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, and the Government Management and Reform Act of 1994.

September 11, 1993—Executive Order 12862 – Setting Customer Service Standards (PDF, 12 KB, 2 pages, September 1993)

Requires agencies to establish and implement customer service standards; survey customers and employees; benchmark customer service performance against the best in business (e.g., highest quality of service delivered to customers by private sector organizations providing a comparable or analogous service); publish customer service standards and plans; and publicly report on customer service surveys.

Agencies shall take the following actions:

  • identify the customers who are, or should be, served by the agency;
  • survey customers to determine the kind and quality of services they want and their level of satisfaction with existing services;
  • post service standards and measure results against them;
  • benchmark customer service performance against the best in business;
  • survey front-line employees on barriers to, and ideas for, matching the best in business;
  • provide customers with choices in both the sources of service and the means of delivery;
  • make information, services, and complaint systems easily accessible; and
  • provide means to address customer complaints.

January 5, 1993—Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA)

Set performance goals, measure results, publicly report progress. New focus on results, service quality and customer satisfaction. The purposes of this Act are to:

  • Improve the confidence of the American people in the capability of the Federal Government, by systematically holding Federal agencies accountable for achieving program results;
  • Initiate program performance reform with a series of pilot projects in setting program goals, measuring program performance against those goals, and reporting publicly on their progress;
  • Improve Federal program effectiveness and public accountability by promoting a new focus on results, service quality, and customer satisfaction;
  • Help Federal managers improve service delivery, by requiring that they plan for meeting program objectives and by providing them with information about program results and service quality;
  • Improve congressional decision-making by providing more objective information on achieving statutory objectives, and on the relative effectiveness and efficiency of Federal programs and spending; and
  • Improve internal management of the Federal Government.
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