CAP Goal Update: Improving the Federal Customer Experience

Since the President’s Management Agenda was issued in March, Federal agencies have been working governmentwide to “provide a modern, streamlined, and responsive customer experience [CX] across government, comparable to leading private sector organizations.” According to an update released Wednesday on Performance.gov, agencies have made strong progress on the cross-agency priority (CAP) of improving CX with Federal services; however, the path forward has not been without bumps in the road.

The update stressed that government has taken cues from the private sector and is relying on three “foundational components” to improve CX:

  • Data: Agencies will capture data to analyze the voices of citizens;
  • Tools: The government will build and deliver customer experience tools and products governmentwide; and
  • Technology: The Federal government will deliver easy and effective experiences, whether in person, via phone, or online.

With those components in mind, the update highlighted three strategies used throughout the process: improve digital services, increase transparency to drive accountability, and apply proven practices to raise the standard of service of high impact service providers.

Before delving into the meat of the update, the report did explain that there was a change to the strategies being used. Explaining that “In previous CX CAP Goal updates, strategy 3 focused on rewarding individuals and initiatives that demonstrated outstanding customer experience…[T]his initiative grew to become the broader ‘Gears of Government’ Award to celebrate individuals and teams across the Federal workforce whose dedication supports exceptional delivery of key outcomes for the American people.”

The report calls out four main updates from the previous quarter:

  • The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued what the update calls a “first-of-its-kind” Federal customer experience guidance titled “Managing Customer Experience and Improving Service Delivery.”
  • The update noted that a set of governmentwide CX metrics was established “in alignment with leading practices from both the private and public sectors” as a way to develop “comparable, governmentwide scores that will enable cross-agency benchmarking (when relevant) and general indication of an agency’s customer’s overall satisfaction.”
  • In June of 2018, OMB proposed creating a new governmentwide CX capability, which the update describes as a “proven structure in the private sector to facilitate a sustainable, embedded orientation towards customers across complex organizations.”
  • A governmentwide customer experience journey map pilot has already been completed, according to the update. The report explains that Federal government customers pursue needs along a journey that doesn’t “perfectly align to agency boundaries.” The update further explained that “documenting the perspective of individuals navigating Federal services irrespective of how the government is organized is necessary to identifying some of the most critical bottlenecks and high-impact areas for improvement.” A 50 person pilot was already completed and coordination for interagency involvement for a second customer segment is already underway.

In terms of meeting its milestones, the CX CAP goal has a pretty solid, but not spotless, record. It has either met or is on track for meeting all of its milestones except one. The Office of Performance and Personnel Management (PPM) was tasked with identifying top customer experience challenges across agencies by the third quarter of FY 2018. However, that has not happened. By way of explanation for the delay, the update noted that the conversations and self-assessments that had to take place for this milestone were pushed to November and December to accommodate other scheduling issues, PPM is now “compiling results of these conversations into the top customer experience challenges governmentwide.”

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