BLOG POSTS

CX TRENDS IN GOVERNMENT IN 2017

October 14, 2017

2018 Posts

2019 CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE PREDICTIONS FOR THE U.S. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

December 27, 2018

2018 has been filled with customer experience (CX) events, new policies, guidance and legislation. Chief Customer Officers have continued to be appointed at new agencies. 2019 will be the year to implement the mandates and requirements that the new guidance and legislation will bring.  With these requirements, mandates and tools, federal agencies are empowered to understand their customers, improve the functionality, usability, and experience on federal websites, mobile enable websites and services, implement electronic signatures and digitize federal forms. Customer feedback will be transparent to the public. 

U.S. GOVERNMENT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF 2018

December 27, 2018

From 2017 to 2018, the U.S. federal government has made considerable progress in creating a framework to enable agencies to improve the services they provide to their customers. Creating a citizen-centered government has been a goal for decades without a lot of progress.  Putting the customer/citizen at the center of an organization means that the government engages with their customers, understands their expectations, designs systems and services based using user centered design techniques, prioritizes their investment decisions based on the impact on their customer/citizen, and measures their satisfaction to make continual improvements. The President’s Management Agenda (PMA) is the overarching agenda and outlines a range of the Administration’s priorities and tools for modernizing the federal government in key areas that will improve the ability of agencies to deliver mission outcomes, provide excellent service and effectively steward taxpayer dollars on behalf of the American people now and in the future. The top 10 accomplishments of 2018 to transform government services are...

CONTACT CENTERS: A CRITICAL DRIVER TO IMPROVING DIGITAL SERVICES

September 30, 2018

THE PROBLEM

As the government delivers services to the public at critical moments in their lives, they access information and services via many channels, including websites, calls, emails, chats, social media and through automation such as interactive voice response (IVR) and artificial intelligence (AI).  While the preferred and least expensive channels are self service such as websites, IVR, or AI, the public still needs and expects to be able to access government information via their channel of choice. Contact centers are the hub of digital services delivery. They have long been considered cost centers in the government, organizationally separated from other channels and not used for the value they can deliver to digital services. They provide an opportunity for the government to both create efficiencies, improve the online services, and improve the overall customer experience. Contact centers are a valuable channel in the entire customer journey. They can also provide much needed insights into the public’s needs and satisfaction with services and how to improve the online services. Because citizens contact channels within contact centers when the online channel fails them, it makes them particularly important to improve the service to improve overall CX.

WHERE ARE WE WITH IMPROVING FEDERAL PROCESSES?

June 25, 2018

You definitely can’t blink or you’ll miss news on what’s happening that impacts citizen services and customer experience at the federal level these days.  In the past month, we have continued to see many changes, to include:

  • Releasing the “Delivering Government Solutions for the 21st Century Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations

  • Announcement of the reboot of the GEAR Awards which recognize improved services

  • Selection of the first agency initiatives to be funded by the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF)

  • Launch of the Information Technology (IT) Modernization Centers of Excellence (CoEs) website

2017 Posts

TOP 10 PREDICTIONS FOR 2018 - THE YEAR OF GCX!

December 31, 2017

The federal government has focused on customer service in one way or another for many years through Executive Orders, Cross Agency Priority Goals, and Presidential Memos.  However, it’s been difficult for government officials to understand the difference between customer service and customer experience or the importance of delivering an outstanding experience to the public. Challenges exist in getting the C-suite to understand CX and their important role in improving the public’s experience with government services.  Many believed CX didn’t apply in government since the government is the only place to pay your taxes, obtain federal permits for federal infrastructure projects, obtain a passport or apply for a green card. Today, however, we understand the full impact that providing an outstanding experience to the public can have on improving and simplifying the lives of the public, improving government efficiencies and improving trust in government. By improving the publics’ experience with government, we can also increase citizen engagement. 

As we look at the trends in customer experience in government in 2017, it’s always important to step back and think about who your customers are and their current environment. Citizens day-to-day lives have been changed dramatically through innovation and technology. This, of course, drives their expectations for all services, including government services.

FLY THE FRIENDLY SKIES OF UNITED: WHAT WENT WRONG?

April 17, 2017

AMAZON'S CUSTOMER OBSESSION

August 20, 2017

Can you imagine trying to diagnose and treat an illness without using someone’s vitals such as heart rate, blood pressure, and pulse, etc. That’s exactly what the federal government does when they build systems and websites that deliver important government services such as healthcare, benefits, loans or permits to visit your favorite national park without a thorough analysis of performance and customer data from every channel. It’s like blindly prescribing antibiotics for a cold. It doesn’t work. You need a diagnosis based on data.

There’s valuable data at every touchpoint in a citizen’s journey and although there may be some level of analysis within that channel, it’s rare to see agencies sharing the data across channels let alone across agencies or divisions that serve the same customer.  For example, do you think that data is shared across Agriculture’s Bureaus from the websites, contact centers and social media? Wouldn’t it be amazing for a farmer, ranchers and producers to be able to get information on farm loans and insurance, conservation, and other USDA services in one place. 

LIFE LESSONS FROM THREE DECADES OF PUBLIC SERVICE

August 1, 2017

As I walked my dogs this morning I began thinking about the difference in my life today and my life while I worked in the federal government from the ripe old age of 18.  After my 34 years at GSA I decided to start a business to continue the journey of helping the government to improve citizen services. While I have much more flexibility on when I work, I definitely don’t work less hours. It’s just me and my daughter trying to change the world. Retiring after so many years in one environment and starting your own business is a little scary but not as scary as going to the same place for another 10 years and doing what everyone else tells me to do. For me, it was time for me to take control of my own life and work on what I loved and believed in with every cell in my body.

As I watch fellow friends and colleagues also making this life transition, it is interesting to watch. Do you go to a small company? Do you go to a large company? Do you want to start your own thing? My advice is that you really don’t have to know the answer right away. No decision is irreversible. If the large company doesn’t work, go to a small company and so on. I told everyone I would try this and if I couldn’t do it I would get a real job. My days are long and busy but I couldn’t go back.

DESIGNING A LEARNING ORGANIZATION: REPLACING THE "F" WORD WITH THE "L" WORD

July 1, 2017

At a recent meeting of the Leadership in a Networked World at Harvard, I participated in a conversation about how to create an organization that would leverage innovation to pilot new technologies, develop new ways of delivering services or disrupt the status quo to transform service delivery. We have all witnessed how technology can transform industries but it’s not as much about technology as it is a different way to deliver the service. Over the past several years, industries like the taxi industry, the music industry, the newspaper industry, the hospitality industry and others have been disrupted using agile, lean and new technologies.   This conversation always ends up in the same way – why is the government afraid of failure. How many people have been fired for trying new things that didn’t work – less than kept pouring millions and millions into initiatives that were never set up to succeed.   

TRANSFORMING GOVERNMENT: IT'S ABOUT THE PEOPLE!

May 6, 2017

It begins and ends with the people! People matter. For those trying to transform government through technology - technology is an important enabler but the people and culture will "make or break" you.

“I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.” 

As they raise their right hand, that oath of office is recited by every federal employee when they enter into public service. 

Whenever I talk about customer experience (CX) which is 95% of the time, most people’s eyes glaze over and wonder what the big deal is. It’s just common sense. While much of CX is common sense, it can also be “make or break” for many companies who either say they are “customer focused” without having the necessary policies and procedures, governance, culture, measures etc. in place to make it a reality or don’t think it’s important and therefore don’t invest the time and resources into understanding the benefits.  CX is a discipline that encompasses almost every part of an organization and can result in big benefits in terms of efficiency, revenue, loyalty, employee engagement, trust and more. 

GOVERNMENT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR 2016

January 10, 2017

This year brought government citizen experience to a new level of awareness and success. Many agencies have started consciously thinking about and planning how to improve the experience their customers have, whether they are park visitors, travelers, seniors, immigrants, students or veterans, when they interact with or access their agency or services. 

Are we there yet? Not hardly. Many people government-wide didn’t know about the concept or discipline of customer experience just a few years ago. Today, communities across government and government/industry are forming and evangelizing the need to focus on the citizen and assessing the quality, timeliness, professionalism, ease, security and privacy of transactions being provided to the public by government departments and agencies. 

2016 Posts

GOVERNMENT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE: MYTH BUSTERS #1 AND #2

November 7, 2016

Myth #1: Customer service and customer experience are the same.

False.

Customer service pertains to the performance in a single touchpoint or transaction, whether it's a phone call, web visit, web chat, email or an in person transaction. Customer experience (CX) is about the perception that a customer has with the organization's brand and the full journey that may involve many different touchpoints. The CX also takes emotion or how the customer feels into account more than strictly the quantitative data used to measure the service at a single touchpoint. It's entirely possible for individual touchpoints to be satisfactory and the CX to be unsatisfactory.

PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION: IS IT THE BEST OF TIMES OR THE WORST OF TIMES?

November 1, 2016

As a long-term federal employee who retired a year ago, I experienced many Presidential transitions. This can be a very uncomfortable and chaotic time as you strategize about the possibilities of what will happen on January 20. As the control of the government transfers from one Administration to the next, the one thing you can be sure of is that things will change regardless of the incoming party. There can be exceptions but generally the incoming Administration has their own agenda and their own people that have supported them in their quest for the Golden Ring. The people that have supported them expect to be rewarded for their allegiance. 

We are currently in the last days of mud-slinging, strategizing and spinning. While I was in government, I didn’t get too invested in the details because I knew that it was my job to solute to the new Commander In Chief regardless of who occupied 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

MOBILEGOV: WHAT THE BEST MOBILE STRATEGY FOR DELIVERING DIGITAL SERVICES TO THE PUBLIC?

June 29, 2016

Mobile devices have changed the way we work, live, shop, socialize and are entertained.  It’s clear that we have all become dependent on our smartphones and most of us are carrying our entire lives in our hip pockets.  We awake each morning to the alarm on our phones, we check our emails, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter accounts before heading off to work.  We may check the traffic report before we head out, have a telephone conversation on our way to work and check for emails and texts on and off all day long.  Given that most of us have over 25 passwords, we may also have to locate our passwords to different work and personal accounts on our phones.  If we have a meeting, we may request a ride through our phone, check the status of our steps for the day, and let’s not forget snap a few pics throughout the day to share we our friends online.  All of these are normal daily activities and when we get home, depending on what’s happening in our life, we may also look for a vacation spot to rent, check our bank accounts or pay bills, search for the price of the house that’s listed for sale next door, read our favorite news or listen to a book, course, or podcast.  If we take a walk, we even listen to music on our phones.  The contact information for our friends and family is on our phone.  Our smartphones have become our lifeline in every aspect of our lives.

10 WAYS TO IMPROVE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT: ENGAGED EMPLOYEES= BETTER CITIZEN EXPERIENCE

June 21, 2016

Over the past couple weeks I’ve participated in several customer or citizen experience forums of different types.  Without exception, the conversations always ended up with similar conclusions in terms of the challenges to improving the way the government delivers service.  Some of these challenges include a lack of executive leadership and understanding of the importance of customer experience within a department or agency, organizational silos, limited resources and skills with expertise in the discipline of customer experience and digital services, low employee engagement and culture.  Employee engagement is measured by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) each year.  OPM is currently computing the 2016 Employee Viewpoint Survey (EVS) scores which will be released at the end of August 2016.  These scores are used in the Partnership for Public Services’ Best Places to Work report that’s published each year.  In 2015, the federal government’s engagement score rose by 1 percent from 2014 to 64.  Let’s hope for another increase this year.  

SHOULD CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MATTER IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT?

May 17, 2016

From an academic perspective, customer experience (CX) is defined as the perception the customer has about an organization based on all interactions and touchpoints with its products, services, and employees.  The government is unique in that its CX is drawn from customer contact with thousands of different agencies scattered throughout the country—such as the 13 million students who apply for student aid, the 14 million passport applicants, the 147 million individual taxpayers and 2 million corporate returns, or the 43 million visitors to a social security field office, just to name a few.  We have the opportunity to create an experience that exceeds expectations and lessens the chance of disappointing those customers and diminishing their trust in government. 

GOVERNMENT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE: PREDICTIONS FOR 2016

February 21, 2016

The federal government’s focus on improving service to the public gained momentum in 2015.   The public’s lives are impacted daily by services they receive from government in many ways.  We should never take for granted the public servants who are dedicated and work tirelessly to protect our safety, our food supply and the ability to live our lives in freedom.  

We rely on the government to keep us safe in the workplace, on our highways and in the air.  At this time of year, the service we receive from the Internal Revenue Service is front and center on everyone’s mind.  The federal government also issues permits for fishing, to camp or hike in some of our National Parks, or for some businesses.  We rely on the federal government after natural disasters and many emergency situations.  And, finally, at many of the most important times of our lives such as the birth of children, death of a loved one, or a marriage, we rely on the services and information from many agencies.  

MOMENTUM FOR DELIVERING DIGITAL PUBLIC SERVICES IN THE U.S. IN 2015

February 15, 2016

In 2015 the U.S. federal government turned a corner on its focus on customer experience.  While there have been executive orders, laws, and requirements encouraging the federal government to improve customer service since the early 1990s, all of the latest data shows that the public’s trust in government and satisfaction with government services is at an all-time low.      

Dorris Consulting International