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GCN : August 2015
how to CX The General Services Adminis- tration's Martha Dorris, who now directs the Office of Stra- tegic Programs, has spent years helping federal agencies improve their citizen services. She recently talked with GCN Editor-in-Chief Troy K. Schneider about the fundamentals of good customer- experience design, particularly when it comes to mobile technology. This transcript has been edited for length and clarity. Thinking about the customer expe- rience is very much in vogue right now, but it's a really vague idea. Where do you start? First off, it's worth noting that the gov- ernment has had requirements and executive orders and [the Government Performance and Results Act] in place since 1993. So the idea of focusing on your customer is not a new idea, al- though it's hard. It sounds easy, but it's hard because it impacts every part of an organization. This year, the administration cre- ated a cross agency priority goal on customer service. It's a really exciting time to connect the importance of cus- tomer experience to the world of tech- nology and digital services. It's like the customer experience life cycle: Who are your customers? How do they want to get information? What's the experience you want them to have? What drives their experience in terms of both their hardcore satis- faction and their perception? For example, is your customer the 35 to 40 million students who are inter- acting with federal student aid? Or is it the 20 plus million veterans who are getting services from the Department of Veterans Affairs? If you take the veterans example, you can't just say, "My customer is a veter- an." You have a veteran of World War II. You have a recent Iraq/Afghanistan veteran. When you break those down even further, you start to see how cer- tain segments of your customers would actually want to interact with you differently. Doing some third-person research and interviewing customers on how they currently work with you --- what are those drivers? --- and developing some personas are really a good place to start. Then you can start mapping the jour- ney of what are their needs and how would they interact with you. You map what those pain points are, what the emotion is when they're going through that process, how many times they're touching your organization. And within that organization, what are those touch points? Then as you're going through it, you think through from a mobile perspec- tive, where are the mobile moments? Where does it make sense that you pro- vide that service or the ability to con- duct that piece of business with that agency in a mobile way? It's a very discrete function that they're trying to accomplish in a mobile way. One example is in GSA we have per diems, so if you're traveling then you can go online and you see what is a per diem rate for that area. The IRS mobile app on what's the status of your tax re- fund --- that's the No. 1 question people are asking, so being able to do that in an easy way through an app makes sense. How do you start to draw that jour- ney map? Is that done with brain- storming and coming up with perso- nas to represent the audience? Or are you using focus groups? VA went through a process of going across the country and actually inter- viewing veterans to come up with per- sonas. You take all those interviews, and you come up with behavior-based per- sonas. Then you come up with scenarios for how that specific person might be in- teracting with your organization. You should actually have real cus- tomers involved in it so you understand the emotions that customers are going through when they're trying to get a benefit, schedule a medical appoint- ment, whatever it is they're trying to do. Then you take all that and eventu- ally you can draw it all out into a chart, where you can see in one place all the organizations that are touched, what the process is, what the emotions are and where the pain points are. You pull that out and extrapolate --- what are some actions we can take that are go- ing to resolve, improve, help that pain point? According to the General Services Administration's CX champion, it all begins with good listening skills and common sense Where to start with customer-experience design 30 GCN AUGUST 2015 • GCN.COM