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GCN : June and July 2016
S-28 SPONSORED CONTENT SERVING THE CITIZEN The federal government is focusing on customer ser vice more than ever before. But that focus may evolve in the near future. Martha Dorris championed the customer experience concept throughout her 33 years of public service. Now Founder and President of Dorris Consulting International, Dorris spoke recently with Francis Rose, host of Government Matters on ABC 7 and News Channel 8, about the federal government’s evolution in dealing with customers. Rose: What’s the difference between customer service and customer experience in a government setting? Dorris: Customer ser vice is related to a single touch point. Customer experience is about the entire jour ney. It’s about the perception your customer has of your organi zation. Rose: Is making a citizen’s experience with the federal government like the private sector a reasonable expectation? Dorris: I think it would be great if we could provide the kind of experience that the public has with Amazon, for example. It would be great if you went to USA.gov and you were able to access different agencies, ser vices, and infor mation the way you can when you go on Amazon and access all of those different products and ser vices from different companies. There are some challenges with that. One major challenge is, we don’t have a single identity management solution i n the federal government, even though we tried and tried. Having a single ID would be a big thing for customers. It would also save the government millions of dollars because ever y agency is building its own identity management solution. Rose: Does the government do a good job of understanding the customer’s expectations and needs so they can improve the experience? Dorris: I think there are pockets of agencies that do some decent resea rch on what their customers wa nt. But it is not brought together i n a way so that you could share the data across agencies, and break it out by demographics. Some agencies try it, but it is so difficult because of the hoops we have to jump through because of the Paper work Reduction Act. Rose: Is there a role for the vendor community in improving customer experience in government beyond just selling services to the agencies that need or want them? Dorris: I think trade organi zations could br ing a lot of the companies together i n this space to help identify best practices, share them between i ndustr y and gover nment, and even help identify ways that we can share them across government agencies. Services is one of the major ways that you can i mprove customer exper ience. I think i ndustr y can play a big par t in that, to educate and share the way that they have done things and learn from the government as well. Rose: We have less than a year until the Obama administration ends and a new President and new administration take over. What do you want to see customer experience leaders in the government do to make sure there is minimal loss of momentum between now and next year? Dorris: Everybody just needs to look at their programs re alistically, and understand the experience that their customers are having. Then they should ask themselves what exper ience they want their customers to have, and what the action plans a re that they need to do to improve that exper ience now. What’s within their ow n jurisdiction, or their own authority to do? What do they need help with? Leaders should have those lists ready when the new admi nistration comes in, and then they should say, “Here are ten things that I need you to do.” That’s how to hit the ground running in the new admi nistration. This inter view continues at Carahsoft.com/innovation/Dorris ONE-ON-ONE WITH MARTHA DORRIS Executive Viewpoint Former director of strategic programs for GSA provides suggestions for improving a citizen’s experience with the federal government. MARTHA DORRIS PRESIDENT, DORRIS CONSULTING INTERNATIONAL
August and September 2016