The federal government has entered a new era of customer experience. Though today’s efforts by federal agencies to renew public services build on a decade of reform, recent policy has presented a higher-level vision of simple, seamless and secure customer experiences. This administration’s President’s Management Agenda Vision and the accompanying “Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government” define clear goals for equitable delivery to the public and targeted actions to relieve the administrative burden on government’s customers.
But these mandates demand a seismic shift in how government does business: All parts of government must be designed around customers’ lives and needs. Such an approach doesn’t always align with today’s federal organizational charts or processes. And requiring customers to use systems built for the convenience of government has led to frustration and lesser service quality for the very people government is meant to serve--all of us. “We now need to align our programs, technologies and systems to the customer journey, and not align the customer to our systems,” said Andy Lewandowski, digital experience advisor to the federal chief information officer, Office of Management and Budget.
The Partnership for Public Service and Accenture Federal Services focus on agencies’ readiness for these new policies centering the customer, specifically the requirement to “systematically [identify] and [resolve] the root causes of customer experience challenges.” In other words, what are the key ingredients that enable agencies to design and deliver from a customer’s perspective, and not their own?
A critical requirement for the administration’s vision is to expand the collaborative customer-centric mindset to all agency functions. As agencies collect and analyze data, modernize technology, perform legal reviews and conduct other essential activities, they need to align these systems with how customers live their lives. Teams performing all agency functions—not only customer experience teams—should be accountable for helping people become aware of the services they are eligible for and making it quick and easy for all possible customers to receive those services.
This collective effort can only happen when government offices and agencies coordinate in fundamentally new ways. To illustrate this approach, this report:
- Establishes a vision for collaborative customer experience.
- Explores the benefits to customers of agency collaborations to improve customer experience.
- Identifies critical ingredients for a customer-centric approach across all government functions.
- Proposes bold actions to design a government for the people and target root causes of customer experience challenges.
For this report, we interviewed customer experience leaders, as well as those who design and implement services at federal agencies. We also had conversations with customer experience experts from national research institutes and universities. Additionally, our work was informed by input from our quarterly customer experience roundtables and by leading commercial practices.