Insight by KPMG

Agencies must know their customer first before they can deliver an excellent experience

The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Healthcare.gov website, both saw increases of four points.

The National Park Service and the Postal Service remain the highest rated agencies that offer services to the public. TRICARE, the government-managed health insurance for service members, also held its rank as the third-best rated program.

Agencies are expecting to see improvements across the board when it comes to customer service over the next year. The reason for such optimism comes from a growing understanding of what it takes to provide exceptional customer service.

A recent study by the Partnership for Public Service, for example, highlighted three key concepts that drive a better customer experience:

  • Develop a departmentwide strategy.
  • Expand employee perception of who their customers are, and what they expect.
  • Make sure the leadership has clarity and feedback from the customers.

Improving customer experience is also part of the President’s Management Agenda.

The Office of Management and Budget is pushing forward with other initiatives around customer experience. It is accepting ideas and potentially awarding $900,000 under its Government Effectiveness Advanced Research (GEAR) Center initiative. One of the focus areas for the GEAR Center is to help agencies better connect federal programs with a quantitative and qualitative understanding of the people they serve, and capture the voice of the customer in order to continuously improve federal services.

And finally, agencies have more optimism because OMB established and is now measuring governmentwide metrics around customer service through the A-11 guidance.

There are a lot of parallel efforts that are helping agencies understand, improve and develop first-rate customer experience services. Agencies can take steps to bring these initiatives together to continue to make real progress. get those scores higher and, most importantly, meet citizens’ needs.

Customer Experience Strategy

We do a lot of stakeholder engagement where we have something called a forging model where we map out all of our stakeholders at different levels. Then we have stakeholder engagement activities. We meet with them at offsites. We do mission road shows. We have communications and there is no such thing as over communication.

Complexity of the Customer Experience

There are different tools we can apply like journey mapping and human centered design to help us focus on what that customer’s experience is and translate that into the organization. Even journey mapping, I think the government has embraced that and is starting to develop them.

Measuring Success

When you start with the customer first and design around the customer ultimately you will get a better result for them, which will ultimately save time, energy, money and resources. One of the things that I’m grateful for is our current secretary and our leadership has been willing and wanting to invest in the capability of customer experience.

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