The Biden administration has issued several new mandates for federal agencies to prioritize and deliver enhanced government customer experiences (CX) capabilities. These mandates provide a roadmap and an opportunity for agencies to leverage digital transformation efforts and modernize CX capabilities for the constituents they serve.
One such effort to advance CX in government is the Office of Management and Budget’s five projects intended to identify and improve key constituent “life experiences.” The goal is to design and deliver benefits, services and programs for people during some of the most impactful moments in their lives.
The five life experiences include retirement planning, recovering from a disaster, transitioning from active military duty to civilian life, facing economic insecurity with childbirth and experiencing sudden financial hardship. Each of these experiences often require interactions with multiple federal agencies, as well as with state and local, tribal and territorial governments.
For many agencies, the biggest challenge is determining how to get started on enhancing external CX capabilities to meet constituent expectations during these pivotal life experiences.
The core foundation for improving these five life experiences is leveraging innovations that enhance and streamline all interdependent processes. This begins with expediting the migration from outdated technology infrastructure, implementing change management protocols and increasing accountability of stakeholders who provide services to the government.
Addressing OMB’s life experiences for advanced CX
For this article, we are going to focus on “recovering from a disaster,” “birth and early childhood for low-income mothers and children,” and “facing a financial shock and becoming newly eligible for critical support programs” life experiences. These are all significant life experiences that often find constituents in need of immediate government support services.
When it comes to helping constituents recover from a disaster, the goal is to ensure that those impacted no longer need to navigate countless application forms for assistance across multiple agencies. By allowing for the secure sharing of information between government agencies, recovery efforts can be streamlined for constituents, allowing them to focus on their recovery and well-being.
It is also important to leverage momentum and share best practices between internal agency IT modernization efforts, such as digitizing manual, paper-based processes involved in disaster recovery-related interactions.
An example of this type of CX improvement in action is the Health Resources and Services Administration’s streamlining many of its processes to expedite its distribution of $175 billion in grants for the Provider Relief Fund (PRF), which supports families, workers and healthcare providers in the battle against the pandemic.
HRSA was able to digitize its onboarding process and shorten its grant distribution efforts from as long as four months to as little as five days. In March 2022, the agency also announced the distribution of $413 million in PRF payments to more than 3,600 providers across the country. In total, nearly $12 billion in PRF payments have been distributed to 82,000 providers since the start of the program last year.
Regarding the “birth and early childhood for low-income mothers and children” life experience, mobile innovations can help meet these critical constituent needs. For example, many of the processes required access to social benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP) and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and can be digitized and made readily accessible, fillable and signable from nearly any mobile device.
These mobile-based innovations will allow the federal government to meet constituents where they are — whether at home in the evening caring for their child or commuting with their newborn to a care provider’s office. Agencies can also reduce the number of inequitable challenges facing an infant, child or mother as they attempt to access healthcare, food, housing, childcare and other resources.
Finally, for those facing a “financial shock” life experience, OMB has set bold and aspirational goals enabling constituents to access critical services within 20 minutes, enroll in support programs within 24 hours, receive services within a week, and receive equitable, high quality service experiences, including wrap-around support.
Creating seamless digitized processes that enable rapid enrollment in these programs will help to deliver on these promises. Integrating a human-centered design methodology keeps the person at the center of any process to solve challenging problems.
For example, shifting to mobile-first, streamlined application processes can create further transparency for constituents. They will no longer need to play the guessing game regarding whether or not they filled out the application correctly, or where their application stands in the approval process.
OMB’s partnership with 10 agencies for improving CX
Led by OMB, the Federal Customer Experience team has partnered with more than 10 agencies for developing a human-centered approach to improve five critical life experiences.
Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs (OWCP), which administer disability compensation benefits to workers and/or their dependents who suffer from work-related injuries or occupational diseases.
The OWCP implemented an improvement plan that started with conducting market research to identify existing capabilities for modernizing and streamlining the processes behind administering these benefits. They integrated and delivered an electronic signature solution that has produced tangible results within six months.
Through these five projects, OMB is making a concerted effort to improve CX for individuals receiving government services by focusing on these core life experiences. By digitizing and streamlining the required processes to serve constituents, government agencies will be better able to fulfill its overall CX mission.
Michael “MJ” Jackson is vice president and Global Head of Industries at DocuSign.