Improving the way citizens interact with government is no longer an option. It’s a necessity.
That’s why across local, state and federal agencies, initiatives targeting enhanced customer experience (CX) — the lifecycle of interactions a customer might have with an organization — are cropping up.
Anticipated next is an in-house CX office for the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD), according to Brian Whittaker, Acting Deputy Executive Director at the Centers of Excellence (CoE). At HUD, the CX CoE has helped modernize IT infrastructure by helping the agency better understand its customers.
Most recently, the partnership produced a customer journey map, which identifies all the steps a low-income senior citizen might experience in seeking affordable housing through HUD.
“Within the next fiscal year ideally, the office will be set up,” Whittaker said at GovLoop’s recent online training, “Creating Excellent CX.”
What can other agencies consider when setting up a CX hub as well?
For Oswaldo Metre, Director of Citizen Services for the city of Buffalo, New York, it’s three things.
1. Support from the top
First, make sure you have executive sponsorship, or someone from the top championing advancement in CX.
“You have to have buy-in from the top,” Metre said, “because that will set the tone for other departments.”
Changing the status quo in culture is one of the hardest challenges to overcome when it comes to modernizing or transforming the way an agency operates, said Chris Dilley, Chief Technology Officer for State, Local and Education (SLED) at ServiceNow.
“Where do you start?” said Dilley. “You start with a vision and a champion.”
2. Engagement of all customers
Second is how agencies understand what engagement and service mean, Metre noted.
“We have citizens of all cultures and races and ethnicities, and we have to understand how they engage and how we engage with them,” Metre said. For example, there are some communities that will use the 311 call center that the city of Buffalo set up, and some will not, Metre said.
“It’s not up to us to be monolithic, but we need to get out to them,” Metre said. “To have a center of excellence and not have a full body participating in that — it’s like not having it at all.”
3. Communication to the people
Third is communication — to communicate a unified message to the customers and the public, and to communicate to stakeholders and partners involved in the process of setting up a CX hub, Metre said.
“One key point is this: Identify the folks that are willing and interested,” Whittaker said. “If they are bringing that energy, maybe you can find funding, maybe you can use your network to start using human-centered design. It could be foundational to starting a new office.”
This online training was sponsored by: