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INDUSTRY INSIGHT

Why the CX journey matters

While many point to the commercial sector for making waves in the customer experience (CX) arena, the federal government is also updating its digital offerings and websites to better meet citizen expectations for the self-serve, mobile-friendly, digital tools that they use in their everyday lives.

Government CX strides in 2020

As highlighted in Forrester’s 2020 U.S. Federal Customer Experience Index, 15 agencies and programs earned an average score of 61.1 out of a possible 100, which is up 1.4 points from 2019.  To date, this is the highest score that government has received in this index.

The National Park Service actually scored on par with commercial banks, and agencies like the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Medicaid, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and the IRS all made statistically significant gains.  

Much of this success can be attributed to CX performance indicators from the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience (IDEA) Act. In addition, the “Fed CX Mandate” in the Office of Management and Budget’s A-11 Section 280 provides guidance on implementing a CX framework and leading practices for measuring and managing overall CX.

CX in action now

This year, agencies such as the IRS and the Department of Health and Human Services are already leading the way. For example, the IRS recently announced the creation of a brand new role: the chief taxpayer experience officer. Created under the Taxpayer First Act, the goal is to reimagine the taxpayer experience, enhance employee training and restructure the organization to increase collaboration and innovation.

In addition, the IRS has established a digital subcommittee that provides executive-level oversight for its digitalization initiatives. The agency also has a separate organization that reports directly to the deputy commissioner for services office, which is highly focused on the UX and CX aspects of IRS's online services portfolio.

As part of HHS’ overall updated digital strategy, various program offices will be getting on a “CX scale,” which will be reviewed by the agency’s Digital Council to help all agency offices earn higher scores.

In terms of what CX success actually looks like, Performance.gov offers a wide range of examples.  These include cost-savings and efficiencies achieved in administering wilderness permits, the National School Lunch program and veteran employment efforts. 

CX success: How to get there

Taking guidance from the Digital.gov Customer Experience Toolkit to the next level will require intertwining agency online services with updated applications and IT infrastructure.

Industry partners can also play a role in helping agencies fully evolve their CX capabilities -- from project management services to cutting-edge technologies and application development. This can include the creation and scaling of shared services for user identity verification, providing citizens access to online services in a manner that promotes confidence, privacy, choice and innovation. These kinds of efforts can deliver savings over traditional citizen communication channels such as written correspondence, phone calls or in-person visits.

The CX journey is also about creating human connections.

“Taking a human-centered approach really focuses on not only knowing the numbers behind who your customers are and what their behaviors are, but actually intimately getting to know those people,” said Amanda Chavez, director of CX at NuAxis. CX means “actually having conversations with them to discover where the pain really lives in that experience and using a lot of creative methods to reshape that experience for them,” she said.

It’s always good to remember that the CX journey is all about supporting the mission. CX use cases offer a nearly limitless opportunities to have a positive impact on citizens’ lives -- whether it’s for enhanced social services, disaster response or streamlining the taxpayer experience. It also can reduce risk and provide tremendous cost-savings for agencies.   

By enhancing overall CX capabilities, government can create a seamless customer journey so both agencies and citizens win in the end.

This article was changed March 17 to add more info about the IRS and comments from NuAxis.

About the Author

Seema Khan is CEO of Makpar.

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