Federal customer experience (CX) professionals are trying to wage a conventional war against bad CX. But they usually don’t have the budget, personnel, or authorities they need to win big, decisive battles. That’s why federal CX pros should consider changing their approach and use some proven CX guerrilla tactics instead.
To make the most of their limited resources, federal CX pros should use their available data, foster rapid-fire experimentation, and create memorable moments that build coalitions. Here’s how.
Make The Best Use Of Available Customer Data
A formal voice of the customer program with both quantitative and qualitative feedback mechanisms is ideal – and you’ll definitely need one eventually – but you don’t need anything that fancy to start improving your CX. Instead:
- Aggregate and use the customer data you already have. Most federal agencies have way more customer data than they realize. Even a motley collection of one-off surveys, website and social media analytics, call center logs, and customer emails can be mined to uncover pain points. Don’t worry about painting a photo-realistic picture of your customers. Just aim for a few broad brush strokes that can guide basic CX improvement.
- Go for big impact by exposing the unfiltered voice of the customer. If you don’t have the data to impress decision-makers’ left brains with intricate multivariate regression analyses, awe their right brains with dramatic quotes and stories of major customer problems. All the numbers in the world aren’t as powerful as listening to a call center recording of a crying mother or reading an email from an irate retiree.
Foster Rapid-Fire Experimentation and Learning
When you don’t have the time or budget to develop grand strategies and develop the infrastructure and personnel expertise to pursue them, keep your goals small. Focus on using available resources to test small changes on key touchpoints. You’ll have to:
- Use low-tech and free tools. Use anything from low-fidelity paper sketches to free and affordable tools like ClickTale and Five Second Test to test a concept. You can make serviceable customer journey maps with only cut-up copy paper and bits of tape, or mobile app mockups with pieces of cardboard and whiteboard markers.
- Spread CX skills informally. When you find employees who want to improve CX but don’t know how, don’t wait for a formal training program. Simply announce a weekly lunch table in the cafeteria, informal webinar, or chat session for people who want to get together and learn basic CX skills.
Create Memorable Moments That Build Coalitions
The element of surprise is a powerful tool for guerrilla CX pros. Use it to make an indelible impression on execs and build alliances of CX advocates that cause a ripple effect throughout your agency. To create the most memorable moments:
- Make it impossible to ignore the customer. When you can’t afford a big, formal campaign to promote customer understanding throughout the agency, use guerrilla marketing techniques to make sure employees and execs come face-to-face with compelling customer stories when they least expect them and can’t ignore them. Post customer journey maps on the walls in well-traveled corridors and cafeterias – they’ll quickly become conversation-starters and points of reference. Use your internal multimedia support pros to create low-cost customer “day in the life” videos and run them on the lobby TVs that have been showing CNN for the past five years. Create eye-catching customer fact sheets and place them in unexpected places, like above the sink in the kitchenette, in the elevator, and on the inside of bathroom stall doors.
- Go after emotionally charged experiences first. Emotion has a bigger impact on CX than either effectiveness or ease, so focus first on improving experiences that are very emotional for customers. When you create positive emotions for customers, employees who deal with those customers will be happier, too. These employees will become CX advocates and help win over their skeptical co-workers.
Even if you don’t have the resources to mount a full-scale conventional war against bad CX, you can use these tips to start a guerrilla campaign that will not only improve your agency’s customer experience – it will also prove the value of a CX approach to skeptical leaders, who will be more willing to fight for the budget, staff, and authorities you need to continue the effort.
For tons more advice on guerrilla CX, check out “Guerrilla CX: Improving The Quality Of Your CX Despite Tight Budgets And Small Teams” by my awesome colleague, Joana van den Brink-Quintanilha.
Rick Parrish is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.
Good post Rick! Really great tips on how government agencies can improve their customers’ experience here and now rather than later down the road.
Thanks, Olivia! I’m glad you found the post valuable. Federal agencies will definitely need more resources to keep keep improving, but they don’t need to wait for more budget and staff to get started.
Love your ideas about making it impossible to ignore the customer in the daily routine, rather than mounting huge campaigns. Great post!
Thank you, Hannah! I hope we’ve finally found a good use for all those TVs agencies bought a few years ago.
Very good article.
I’m also interested in public administrators using initiative and creativity. You may be interested in my blog post at http://pubadmin.org/2015/05/22/beyond-guerrilla-government-intrapreneurs-cuff-systems-side-projects-and-hacks/
I’m developing a panel on a similar theme for the NECoPA conference. I’d like to talk with you about it.
Thanks for the link, David! There are great affinities between our two articles. It looks like guerrilla federal CX pros are “intrepreneurs.”