The General Services Administration has started a community of customer-focused feds to further the federalwide mission of improving services to citizens.
Led by GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, the Customer Experience Community of Practice gathers U.S. government personnel looking to improve federal service delivery by focusing on citizens. In the last six months, the community has attracted more than 500 members who take part in monthly webinars, weekly discussion around best practices and the creation of tools to help measure and improve customer experience.
“This is a group of government employees who are all dedicated to the customer experience in their respective agencies and as a discipline,” Sarah Crane, director of the Federal Citizen Information Center, said at a customer experience summit hosted by IT private-public partnership group ACT-IAC.
Phaedra Chrousos, associate administrator of OCSIT, told FedScoop in an email that her team launches these communities of practice “to reflect the changing needs and interests of the government.” The office previously launched communities focused on topics like mobility and federal challenge competitions.
Customer experience, in particular, is an area that’s gaining tremendous momentum throughout government, Chrousos said.
“We launched the Customer Experience Community of Practice so that we could act as a ‘hub’ where government employees can come together [online and off] and talk about their experiences improving customer experience at their agencies and share best practices and learnings,” she told FedScoop.
Already, Crane said during her ACT-IAC panel, the community has produced several tools, including a small playbook in support of the Customer Service Cross Agency Priority goal and a calculator-like maturity assessment model, to help agencies get started with the modern tenants of customer experience and assess where they stand.
“It’s sort of a cradle-to-grave experience in terms of getting customer experience institutionalized in your agency,” Crane said.
GSA’s leadership with this community comes on top of several other pilots the agency and its customer office have launched in recent months. In August, the office announced FeedbackUSA, a system of portals agencies were installing through which customers could rate their experience with the touch of a button and share that insight in near real time. Later that month, GSA also announced it had negotiated Yelp terms of service so agencies could use existing pages and create new ones to collect customer service feedback.