Key ingredients for a holistic customer experience
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Key ingredients for a holistic customer experience

February 21, 2023 | Updated on February 12, 2024
Elizabeth Byers, Sarah Hughes

The Biden administration’s executive order on the customer experience declares that “the needs of the people … should drive service” and calls on the federal government to meet people where they are rather than forcing them to adapt to systems and policies that can be complex and hard to navigate.

What does this new way of working look like? We explored this very question in our annual “Government for the People” report, written in partnership with Accenture Federal Services, and in profiles of five agencies that are improving the federal customer experience to meet people’s needs.

Putting the customer experience first

Our profiles highlight the ways that specific federal services—those that have some of the most contact with the public—address customer feedback to better serve people. These agencies are activating the principles of President Biden’s executive order and the customer experience priority in the President’s Management Agenda.

Some are working on digital transformation. For example, the Social Security Administration recently launched a new, redesigned website that aims to make it easier for customers to access the agency’s most common services.

In addition, the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the State Department has been piloting an online passport renewal process, converting something that was previously paper based into something more accessible and user-friendly. 

Other agencies focus on making their services more equitable. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has worked to enhance the services it provides to customers applying for disaster assistance by expanding the types of documents accepted to prove home ownership and occupancy—and enabling home inspectors in the field to collect them. This latter effort is saving customers the time it takes to mail or upload critical documentation.

Sharing data for the greater good

Still other agencies are making customer needs a priority through data sharing.

For example, a 2020 report finds that most people in the U.S. do not take advantage of preventative health care. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services outreach team is working to change that by focusing on beneficiaries who fall into this category and sending them tailored messages that encourage them to take advantage of services like cancer screenings and mammograms.

The outreach team can conduct this work because CMS has built a central hub that houses data from offices across the enterprise, giving teams the agility to access and act on data at opportune times. Not only that, but CMS also partners with community groups to help deliver health messages in ways that most resonate with people.      

These are but a few examples of agencies working to improve the customer experience throughout government. By highlighting these success stories, we hope to provide agencies with a model and set of best practices to embark on this critically important endeavor.

To learn more about how other federal agencies—such as the Consumer Protection Bureau, the Social Security Administration, and the State Department—are delivering a better customer experience, visit our website.  

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