One of the ways government agencies are transforming to meet customer demands is through improved customer experiences (CX). Today, both constituents and employees want efficient, personalized experiences with technologies such as backend analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). The following government and industry customer experience experts met at this year’s Government Customer Experience & Engagement Summit to discuss the future of digitization and how organizations can better integrate CX both internally and externally.
- Simchah Suveyke-Bogin, Chief Experience Officer, U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Joel Nantais, Bureau of Consular Affairs Customer Experience Strategist, U.S Department of State
- Michael Rupert, Chief Technology Officer, Office of the Chief Technology Officer, Government of the District of Columbia
- Jill Leyden, Vice President of Public Sector Strategy and Solutions, Qualtrics
- Phil Jackson, General Manager, Adobe
- Evan Anderson, Regional Vice President, Public Sector, OwnBackUp
With the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (21st Century IDEA) and the Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government, the Biden Administration has urged federal agencies to modernize to deliver improved customer experiences across the federal government. Momentum has been building around CX as “agencies have taken the spirit of these mandates and moved customer experience from being a standalone program or initiative into a way of doing business,” commented Leyden.
However, while the focus on CX is gaining momentum, agencies must ensure that there is equity in access and experience. “Whether it is translation to meet citizens where they are or ensuring content is delivered in a consumable fashion, accommodations need to be made. Not everyone may have a desktop computer to engage with their government, so a mobile device may be all a household has,” Jackson remarked. “Getting this right sets the stage for success.”
Simchah Suveyke-Bogin, Chief Experience Officer, U.S. Department of Agriculture
For the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the focus has been on using qualitative data to get to the root of how individuals are faring to advance CX. “Once we learn the pain points and critical moments in the customer’s journey that we want to improve, it helps us on the business side to figure out how we want to prioritize and unfold new technology to support those opportunities,” said Suveyke-Bogin. Qualitative and experiential data are essential to understanding the direction the agency needs to go to support its workers and customers.
By building on the data, agencies can concentrate on creating human-centered design practices. In leveraging internal data such as contact center activity, research team interviews, and surveys, CX teams can uncover gaps in the customer journey and determine the best course of action for development through personal experiences.
Joel Nantais, Bureau of Consular Affairs Customer Experience Strategist, U.S Department of State
Expectations from customers have changed rapidly over the past few years. As a result, “human-centered design and focusing on customer experience is no longer an ancillary duty to the policy process and technologists, but it is something that needs to be foundational to the work of digitalization,” commented Nantais. By reimaging services, the State Department launched online passport renewal in 2023. While the passport renewal process has traditionally been manual and paper-based, it was a process that was prime for digitization and a pilot project. The State Department learned from the experiences and data-driven insights and has used this to iterate improvements and lay the foundation for an improved process by the end of the year.
As agencies move towards digital-first options, it’s important for them to continue to non-digital options as well, since not everyone can access the Internet, for example. Meeting people where they are is essential since “every U.S. citizen is our customer for many services…and digital is not always going to be the solution for everyone,” he said.
Michael Rupert, Chief Technology Officer, Office of the Chief Technology Officer, Government of the District of Columbia.
By taking the time to examine internal processes, the D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer is working to “build the cycle of user usability and journey mapping, and then quickly iterating based on feedback and analytics data,” said Rupert. The agency is working on incorporating this cycle to enhance its CX from the beginning stages rather than being too late and missing the opportunity to incorporate strong CX into its processes.
Additionally, the agency is working on using AI to rethink experiences in the coming years. AI can advance how organizations sort through data and automate analysis to pinpoint problem areas and customer issues. The front-end of this AI integration may be a chatbot, but it is also a digital assistant providing translations for accessibility and generating data-driven insights and contact center call summaries to assist customers and help them avoid long wait times. Government agencies are motivated not only by legislation to incorporate CX at the foundation of their environments but also transforming overall processes internally and externally to drive mission success. As technologies like AI gain traction, agencies can identify pain points and prioritize advancements. By listening to customers and analyzing data, federal agencies are set up for success in bettering CX and driving digitization.
To learn more about maximizing customer experience, listen to the on-demand sessions here.