GSA to customers: We’re all ears

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GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — The General Services Administration is getting much better at listening to its customers and partners, and it shows across all lines of its business, Administrator Denise Turner Roth said Tuesday.

“It’s a very simple formula: What is it that the customer needs, what is it that we’re providing, how do we bring these together?” Turner Roth said Tuesday at ACT-IAC’s Executive Leadership Conference. “Where is it that agencies need to go? They need to be able to provide their consistent services, whether it’s housing or transportation, and they need to provide it in a way that the American public understands it today.”

Turner Roth highlighted several of GSA’s services to other federal agencies as evidence of this greater sensitivity to customer needs. The recent transformation of the Multiple Awards Schedule, for example, came after customers felt a lack of transparency in pricing of best-value products and services across government.

“Alongside where we’re measuring the metrics of performance, we’re also measuring customer satisfaction,” she said. “As a result, we’re adjusting … ultimately if it is the case that the customers are not using a certain product, don’t understand what it’s purpose or don’t feel that it’s worth the effort to access it, then we’re making those changes.”

Similarly, GSA’s work standing up the Acquisition Gateway — what Turner Roth describes, like her predecessor Dan Tangherlini did, as “Amazon for government” — in support of the federal government’s transition to category management reflects the procurement community’s struggle to find acquisition resources and understand the expansive landscape of federal acquisition.

“We are bringing to a central location expertise and information, as well as networking across the profession for our 61,000 procurement professionals,” Turner Roth said. “All this information that we have is scattered across our governmental agencies, and it’s good information. We need to ensure that we bring to a consistent place all of this information, all of this expertise, and really cut through the noise.”

She added: “Our understanding is that we have a customer on the other side. It’s no longer, ‘We built something and you must use it.’ But it’s, ‘We built something and we must attract you to use it.’ How we go about that must be reflective of what the customer is saying is their need.”

Though, as a political appointee, Turner Roth’s days as GSA administrator may be numbered, she feels this vision of elevating the voice of the customer will ensure GSA’s success no matter who’s in her role.

“We are being thoughtful about where government is going, we’re willing to be bold in terms of providing the resources, and we’re going to bring it together to the table,” she said. “As we have a new administration come into our government, I believe GSA will be at a place where we’re able to be seen as the go-to resource” and “as a strategic partner.”

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Agencies, Denise Turner Roth, General Services Administration (GSA), Government IT News, Procurement
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