Building a connected customer experience
Mindful of their mission to make it easier than ever for customers to interact with the department, USDA partnered with Accenture Federal Services (Accenture) on the AskUSDA project. The goal was to create an online customer portal, or “single front door,” through which customers would interact with the agency online to get fast, accurate answers to their questions. USDA wanted to improve the customer experience by giving them a choice in obtaining information through their preferred channel or method, be it a phone call, live chat, or expanded self-help options, such as email correspondence, knowledge articles, or webforms.
In creating AskUSDA, Accenture developed a best-in-class integrated contact center solution with centralized knowledge management, standardized operating procedures, surveys, and detailed reporting to enable data-driven decision making. This required consolidating customer support from 15 disparate contact centers supporting 22 departmental program or mission areas into a single communications channel, Ask.USDA.gov, that could provide standard, consistent responses for both Tier 0 and Tier 1 inquiries. This allowed Specialized Tier 2 Contact Centers to focus their time and attention on more complex requests requiring a more personalized or detailed response. By breaking down customer service siloes across the department, Accenture provided access to more comprehensive analytics and visualization tools for data-driven insights.
Accenture built AskUSDA on a Salesforce Service Cloud Customer Relationship Management solution. The team implemented the platform’s Interactive Voice Response and Computer Technology Integration connector technologies and Customer Survey solutions to handle Tier 0, Tier 1, and Tier 2 inquiries and collect customer feedback on those experiences. These combined capabilities enabled customers to receive answers to common questions through a streamlined omnichannel solution (phone, live chat, email correspondence, form requests) that contains thousands of knowledge articles.
Striving to provide superior customer service is a critical element of USDA’s culture. To that end, Accenture worked closely with USDA to design, build, and deliver the initial Tier 0/Tier 1 contact center solution and to seamlessly transition the day-to-day maintenance and operations of certain components to USDA’s in-house IT teams. Accenture also worked with newly onboarded contact centers to ensure successful adoption of the AskUSDA solution by providing instructor-led training sessions, user guides, and other change management activities.