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Trying to understand the misunderstood and diverse world of customer experience

CX is important. So is security. This is a dicussion, about both, with two federal heavyweights from two very important agencies.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are worlds apart in their missions, but both conscientiously pursue state-of-the-art Customer Experience.

CX for both is about delivering meaningful interactions with their customers, however that might be defined.

Jonathan Kraden is the Customer Experience Branch Chief at CISA. He said CISA has a number of different customers.

“Where I sit in the organization, I am kind of at the program level, helping our large programs better interact and engage with other federal agencies,” Kraden said on Federal Monthly Insights – Modernizing Citizen Experiences with Cloud Identity.  “So for right now, the primary customers that I’m focused on are other federal agencies, and how can we improve our engagements? How do we learn more from them to ultimately improve our services and their cybersecurity posture?”

Vashon Citizen is the Chief of the Digital Services Division, Office of Access and Information Services, at USCIS, which she said is the benefit-granting arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

“So our customers are very broad and diverse,” Citizen said. “We service customers who are seeking to come to live, to work, or to study in the U.S. It also includes individuals that have been here for years as permanent residents and they’ve decided they want to take that next step and become a US citizen.”

As the chief of her division, Citizen is responsible for delivering a complete digital experience for her customers.

“That includes our website, as well as our online tools and our online filing,” Citizen said. “For me, it’s really important to provide a simple, easy, clear self-service experience. Think about Amazon and Uber, and how you can just use your app to get what you need. That’s my goal.”

Citizen and Kraden were part of a recent panel discussion facilitated by ACT-IAC and moderated by Martha Dorris, a former federal executive, who spent 34 years at the General Services Administration (GSA).

The American Council for Technology (ACT) and Industry Advisory Council (IAC) is a non-profit, public-private partnership that strives to improve government “through the application of information.”

The discussion, as most these days, turned to the balance between “the experience” and security.

“CX and cybersecurity are where my head goes, when we talk about security,” Kraden said. “I think they might be brothers from another mother or something like that, because a lot of times they’re looked at as just, gosh, we got to think about security. It’s like it’s an added burden to what somebody’s trying to get done.”

Citizen said the USCIS digital experience “falls into that realm” of offering a secure environment.

“We are trying to transition most of our tools behind the account,” Citizen said. “We did focus groups years ago and customers said, ‘we hate having to reset our passwords.’”

“I do realize that that’s a pain. So we’re trying to work on improving that process. We are also working on some more enhanced identity management technologies that have not been rolled out yet,” Citizen said.


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