White House adviser: CX initiative ‘not just going to be some fancy new apps and websites’

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The Biden administration’s focus on customer experience will involve a fundamental redesign of citizens’ interactions with government and will not simply involve launching new apps and websites, according to a White House adviser.

Speaking Wednesday at an event hosted by the Brookings Institution, Amira Choueiki Boland, the first federal customer experience lead at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), said her agency was committed to the “sustained work” required to reshape citizens’ interactions with government, as laid out in the recent executive order focused on customer experience, and has leadership buy-in.

“The federal government was created over more than two centuries ago into a patchwork of agencies and statutory responsibilities spread out into a bureaucracy,” Boland said. “This summer we’ll be conducting discovery sprints to ultimately put forward a ‘punch list’ of priority pain points to address, and we have leadership recognition that this is the hard systems change work that will take sustained effort.”

She added: “It’s not just going to be some fancy new apps and websites. It’s going to be rethinking forms, guidance to states, [and] how whole processes are designed.”

Boland spoke after the White House announced projects to improve the experiences the public has with government, organized around five key moments in their lives: approaching retirement, recovering from a disaster, navigating the transition from active duty to civilian life, birth and early childhood for low-income mothers and children, and facing a financial shock and becoming newly eligible for critical support programs.

It is the latest step in the Biden administration’s focus on customer experience, which rose to a top priority late last year with the inclusion of improving the design of digital services and customer experience management of high-impact government service in the president’s management agenda (PMA).

In December, President Biden signed an executive order directing agency leaders to identify the key experiences that could be improved upon and to commit to piloting new online tools and technologies to provide a “simple, seamless and secure customer experience.”

Currently, OMB is in the discovery phase of policy implementation and has teams conducting research and gathering design and service delivery data, including directly from the American public.

“A mother should not have to figure out whether a program is ultimately run by HHS or the DOL, or USDA or SSA or HUD. A disaster survivor should not have to go through the damage to their home within the government more than once, and a retiree should not have to fear important choices such as what age they claim retirements benefits,” Boland added.

Core to the PMA’s customer experience focus is a roster of 30 designated high-impact service providers, identified because of the scale and impact of their public-facing services to raise the standard of experience across government.

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customer experience (CX), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), President's Management Agenda (PMA), White House
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