Public Sector Customer Experience: A New Executive Order Puts People at the Center of Government

Eric Head January 5, 2022

You may have heard that President Biden signed an executive order on December 13, 2021, to transform federal customer experience (CX) and service delivery as a way to rebuild trust in government.

“The federal government must design and deliver services in a manner that people of all abilities can navigate. We must use technology to modernize government and implement services that are simple to use, accessible, equitable, protective, transparent, and responsive for all people of the United States,” the White House briefing states.

It’s certainly great news! The executive order opens an opportunity to positively transform the way in which people interact with the government. I recently connected with Verint’s Brian Koma, Vice President of Public Sector for Experience Management, to chat more about what this executive order means for the public sector and how forward-thinking organizations will benefit.

Q: When people think about customer experience, I don’t think their mind goes to the government. But why does the public sector really need to focus on CX?

Koma: As COVID-19 has shifted the public’s focus to digital interactions, government now needs to consider best practices from the private sector. I think the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies answers this best: “Customer expectations are being ratcheted up by the private sector. Government services should be delivered in ways the public now demands and expects—quick, easy, secure, and accessible.”

This new executive order focuses departments’ and agencies’ attention on improving the customer experience in a new way. Until now, it’s been an area of interest for many organizations, but this puts a new emphasis on taking concrete steps to address it.

Q: The executive order directs federal agencies to put people at the center of everything the government does. How can departments and agencies do that?

Koma: Governments must offer different and complex services, and it can be difficult to deliver them efficiently. Citizen engagement strategies are often designed from a departmental or service perspective, making it hard for customers to find the information or service they want. That’s why you’ve seen many federal departments and agencies that have made a conscious decision to capture stakeholder feedback during key interactions and then use this to take directed action.

In many cases, they have also used benchmark data, only available through Verint and Federal Consulting Group (part of the U.S. Department of the Interior), to provide guidance on where to focus their efforts for maximum return, and to create a continuous measurement program.

Such a program can simplify, modernize, and automate engagement to transform service delivery. It allows departments and agencies help address challenges as they work to deliver essential services, help manage this crisis, and protect the public.

Q: Technology is playing a big role. What tech does the public sector need to provide great CX?

Koma: More and more, the public sector is relying on digital channels to help make a huge number of services as accessible and efficient as possible. Digital interactions with government have soared in the last two years due to COVID-19, so departments and agencies need to focus first on their digital strategies.

But here’s the thing: While digital channels are important to the engagement strategy, it is possible that they are not fully delivering the benefits expected. That could be because these services have not been designed from the citizen’s perspective. As COVID continues to evolve, and hopefully declines, citizens and stakeholders have fundamentally changed the way they interact with government—and we expect that digital will remain a key focus.

In the meantime, the public sector needs to focus on citizen engagement strategies designed from the citizen’s perspective in order to deliver the outcomes required while giving citizens what they want. Again, that’s why this new executive order is so key. It’s all about putting people at the center of everything—and that, along with a focus on digital, is exactly what will move public sector CX forward.

Learn more about customer experience in the public sector to discover how you can put people at the center of everything you do.