government - tech - customer service - leadership - opengov - gov2.0The SEPTEMBER 2011GovLoop GuideToCustomerServiceExcellenceIMPROVE CUSTOMERSERVICE DELIVERYPAGE7& TIMELYSOLICITCUSTOMER FEEDBACKPAGE11&IMPROVE ONLINE BLOGS, FORUMSSERVICES & OTHERPAGE13 RESOURCES What’s your customer service strategy? PAGE15
WELCOMECONTENTS 02 WELCOME/ CONTENTS Sep 2011 Customer Service Guide Improve Online Services3 About the GovLoop Guide Series 13 E.O. Requirement: Eliminate Redundancies, Update 3 About Our Sponsor, RightNow Web Policies and Guidelines4 Introduction 13 From the GovLoop Symposium: Ways to Improve Online Services 13 GovLoop Tip: When Appropriate, Move to Digital Improve Customer Service Delivery 5 Reasons Why7 E.O. Requirement: Publish Your Customer Service Plan Government Should7 From the GovLoop Symposium: How to Improve Engage In a Cross- Customer Service Delivery Channel Contact Strategy7 GovLoop Tip: Use Search.usa.gov 14 Customer Service Checklist Advance Customer GovLoop Blog Posts Service through 15 Written by Members of the GovLoop Community Innovative Tech 9 E.O. Requirement: Develop a Signature Initiative Resources9 From the GovLoop Symposium: Social Media Tips 15 List of Additional Customer Service Resources to Improve Customer Service9 GovLoop Tip: How to Improve Customer Experience Solicit Timely Customer Feedback 15 Learn from the11 E.O. Requirement: Use a Broad Set of Tools for wisdom of the crowd Active Engagement through insightful blog posts at Gov-11 From the GovLoop Symposium: Soliciting Loop.com Customer Feedback Tips11 GovLoop Tip: Prioritize the 80/20 Rule
About theGovLoop GuideSeriesGovLoop, in partnership with various companies andorganizations has created a set of guides on a variety ofsubjects to provide managers with the information they needto know. In partnership with GovLoop held a Customer to improve government. and beneficial relationship.RightNow, GovLoop has Service Symposium to fa- Since 1997 RightNow hasbeen preparing resources cilitate a discussion about RightNow helps pioneered technologicalto help agencies meet the how federal agencies can public and private organi- delivery of the mechanismsrequirements of President improve customer service. zations deliver customer to deliver those experienc-Obama’s Customer Service At the symposium, federal experiences and interac- es and provided trainingExecutive Order. GovLoop workers shared resources tions that are rewarding and insights as to how todeveloped the Customer and ideas on how they are and beneficial to both achieve them. RightNow isService Hub that has been working to meet the re- parties. RightNow helps headquartered in Bozem-the go-to resource for cus- quirements of the Custom- to improve efficiencies, an, Montana, employs overtomer service content. Gov- er Service Executive Order. reduce costs and increase 1,000 people and servesLoop and RightNow have In the spirit of GovLoop, we revenue. Their customers 2,000 organizations, bothcreated over twenty blog wanted to connect govies find answers to questions public and private, world-posts and discussions on who are working on the and resolution to their wide. RightNow is listedcustomer service strategies same challenges, and work needs quickly, easily and in on the NASDAQ under thefor government. Recently, towards finding solutions ways that create a positive symbol RNOW.Acknowledgements STEVE RESSLER- Founder and CEO govloop Published by GovLoop in partnership with RightNow, 743 15th St. Washington, D.C. 20005 Govloop Team: Created & Developed by: GovLoop is the premier social network connecting over 43,000 government innovators from federal, state and local govern- ment. The community is a great DOUG MASHKURI- Director of Business resource for all people in and Development around government, whether they are looking to connect with PAT FIORENZA- Graduate Fellow peers, collaborate on projects or discover career-building opportu- JEFF RIBEIRA- Creative Director nities. GovLoop is the place to be In Partnership with: for today’s government leaders. Contributors: MELISSA HARDT- RightNow Director, PAST GUIDES Industry & Public Sector Marketing • New Hire Handbook • Core Project Management ALL GOVLOOP MEMBERS AND OTHER Process (For Small Projects) PARTICIPANTS FROM THE CUSTOMER • Managing the PMF Applica- SERVICE SYMPOSIUM tion Process • Guide to Getting an MPA 2011
GOVLOOPGUIDE 04Customer ServiceIntroduction Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service,” “With advances in technology and Zients walks you through some steps to make sure your service delivery systems in other agency complies with the Executive Order. The four over- arching categories that Zients identifies are: sectors, the public’s expectations of the Government have continued 1. Improve Customer Service Delivery to rise. 2. Advance Customer Service through In- The Government must keep pace with and even novative Technology exceed those expectations. Government must also 3. Solicit Timely Customer Feedback address the need to improve its services, not only to individuals, but also to private and Governmen- 4. Improve Online Services tal entities to which the agency directly provides significant services. Government managers must Below we have mapped out each area and provided learn from what is working in the private sector and some insights from the GovLoop Community as to how apply these best practices to deliver services better, best meet the requirements of the Executive Order and faster, and at lower cost.” improve your customer service. Be sure to check out GovLoop and our Customer Service Hub for even more great resources to improve customer service within your On April 27, 2011, President Barack Obama issued agency.Executive Order 13571. The Executive Order was a re-newed vow by President Obama to improving customer All data presented in this guide comes from the Au-service by Federal Agencies. In the Executive Order, gust 2011 study entitled, “Uncle Sam at Your Service ThePresident Obama reminds us “the public deserves com- 2011 Federal Customer Experience Study.” The study waspetent, efficient, and responsive service from the Fed- produced by MeriTalk and underwritten by RightNow.eral Government.” Government has traditionally beencriticized for poor customer service and weak servicedelivery. With new and emerging technologies, PresidentObama has issued a challenge to Federal agencies tocapitalize on the available technology to improve cus-tomer service processes and operations for citizens. In a memo by Jeffrey Zients, Federal Chief Perfor-mance Officer and Deputy Director for Management,“Implementing Executive Order 13571 on Streamlining
GOVLOOPGUIDE 05 How satisfied are you with Federal customer service? TAKE AWAY: Agencies with superior service show others what is possible. Aim high! Who are considered the “best” agencies? “Providing real, live customer service reps at the point-of-service can be costly,but it provides for ap- Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Social Security Administration (SSA) US Postal Service (USPS)propriately awesome customer service” Eric R. PayneOrganization Excellence Department of Education Department of State Consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton
GOVLOOPGUIDE06 TAKE AWAY: There is still a lot of work to be done. It’s time to close that gap! “Customers (include your- self here) are satisfied when they get what they want, when & how they want it.” R. Anne Hull President, Hull Strategies, LLC
GOVLOOPGUIDE 07Improve Customer ServiceDeliveryDue to the current fiscal landscape, all levels of governance havebeen called to do more with less. With increasing budget constraintsagencies need to find new and innovative ways to improve how theyinterface with their customers.Executive Order Requirement From The GovLoop SymposiumPublish Your Customer Service Plan How to Improve Customer Service DeliveryTo fulfill the requirements of the Executive Order, and an At the GovLoop Symposium, we found that in order toeasy way to improve customer service, be sure to publish move forward and improve customer service, agenciesyour Customer Service Plan. All customer service plans need to take a hard look at themselves, the services theymust be posted within 180 days of the Executive Order. provide and the mission of the agency. One of challengeThe plan should be posted to your Open Government we heard at the symposium is for agencies to “untanglewebsite. A template of how to structure your plan can be the knots” and the ability to quickly solve problems re-found in the appendix. lated to customer service. Agencies sometimes struggle identifying the right point of contact and finding the rightJeffrey Zients recommends that by developing a Custom- information to resolve a customers complaint.er Service Task Force your agency will be able to easilyexchange best practices. Further, OMB will be creating a Some suggestions that emerged from the symposiumCustomer Service Task Force, which will be comprised of to improve customer service are to start by identifyingagencies that provide significant services. This task force your customers. Think critically about what they want towill meet regularly to discuss their Customer Service accomplish and what the relationship looks like. ChartPlans and exchange best practices. out a map that walks you through each contact point and interaction with the customer, at each level, decideIf you are an agency that is heavy in customer service, how you can improve the customer experience. In doingyour agency has already nominated a representative to so, you might see numerous redundancies and waysserve on the OPM Customer Service Task Force, which to streamline the customer experience. In order to bestmeets regularly to discuss best practices on how to im- serve your customers, you need to be able to walk a mileprove customer service. in their shoes, understand their frustrations, identify pos- sible solutions and understand the dimensions of being a customer. GOVLOOP TIP: Mapping out the experience is critical. You need to know Use Seach.usa.gov who is doing what, when, why and how - identifying each layer of customer service will allow you get a stronger Search.usa.gov is a great resource for you to find informa- picture of the entire customer service experience and tion across government. Be sure to check out the site and see improve the end process. what other agencies are up to in terms of customer service. This tool is a great way to make sure you are no recreating the wheel and learning from colleagues in government fac- ing similar challenges.
GOVLOOPGUIDE08 TAKE AWAY: Americans ask agencies to point them in the right direction. Simplify the search and watch for trends! for example... Mobile Apps and the American People “It’s extremely important to have a strong organizational change and transition component to help people adapt to the new environ- ment and expections.” Wendi Pomerance Brick President, Customer Service Advantage, Inc.
GOVLOOPGUIDE 09Advance Customer Service Innovative TEchTHROUGHThere is no doubt that as we witness improvements in service deliverysystems, there is an increase in customer’s demands for improvedcustomer service.Executive Order Requirement From The GovLoop SymposiumDevelop a Signature Initiative Social Media Tips to Improve Customer ServiceObama’s Executive Order requires that each agency es- At the GovLoop symposium, we looked at various tech-tablish a signature initiative to improve customer service. nologies that could be used to improve customer service.This signature initiative must use technology to improve Using social media tools was brought up as one potentialthe customer experience, clearly articulate how agencies solution. Participants stated that with social media plat-will interact with customers using new technology, show forms it is important to have a dedicated person lookingefficiency gains and improve current customer service up comments and complaints, keeping a database ofsystems. The signature initiative should be placed in the what people are asking, and having a system to managecustomer service plan that your agency publishes. comments. Numerous participants also mentioned the concept of having a multiple channel customer serviceVarious examples of potential signature initiatives are approach. At your agency, customers have access toprograms that enable customers to: numerous engagement channels and there must be a consistent message across all channels. Regardless if a • Reserve an office appointment online customer is calling you on the phone, chatting online, or • Reducing time spent waiting in line submitting questions on your website, information must • Complete an entire transaction independently be consistent and accurate across all channels. online, limiting the need for calls or office visits • Track the status of a service online, allowing ac- cess to updates via a mobile device • Set up mobile text alerts for notifications on a range of topics, including emergency an- nouncements GOVLOOP TIP: How To Improve Customer Experience • Provide Options for Self-service • Automate the process through the phone and on the web to help people find the information they want quickly • Ask the right questions, develop the right FAQ’s • Use video as a way to engage with customers
GOVLOOPGUIDE010 TAKE Understand AWAY: Most Americans report connecting with the government online. Customer Embrace a multi- channel approach! Connections “Customer service is much like anything in life in that a small percentage of items (the 20%) represent 80% of overall calls” Steve Ressler Founder- Govloop.com
GOVLOOPGUIDE 011Solicit Timely CustomerFeedbackAgencies should think of new ways to gather customer feedback andimprove how they manage comments, respond to complaints in atimely manner, and develop methods on how to turn customer sug-gestions into action to improve service within the agency.Executive Order Requirement From The GovLoop SymposiumUse Broad Set of Tools For Active Engagement Soliciting Customer Feedback TipsPresident Obama’s Executive Order expands the defi- Providing timely feedback to your customers is critical.nition of customer and encourages agencies to use A lesson learned from the GovLoop Symposium is thata broader set of tools to solicit comments, respond developing a new method or using a new platform is notpromptly, capture insights, and identify early warning necessarily an indication that you have improved cus-signals. tomer service. If comments or concerns lay idle on your new channels of communication, you are simply provid- ing a new, innovative way to provide bad customer ser- vice. You need to be invested in the new technologies to capitalize with the new tools. Be sure to set up a strategy and properly staff your agency to capatilize the potential of the new tools you are using. GOVLOOP TIP: “Customer service is much like anything in life in that a small percentage of items (the 20%) represent 80% of overall calls. In Prioritize for the 80/20 Rule customer service, out of the 10,000 calls or emails you get a day, I’m sure about 80% are the same. Excerpt from GovLoop Founder and President, When I was in NYC with their 311 call center, their magic item Steve Ressler’s Blog, 3 Ways to Improve Cus- was alternate-site parking (where people have to move their cars tomer Service from one side of the street to the other on certain days). That was a large large percentage of the calls. So they prioritized that to one of the 1st things you hear when you call 311, so they can funnel those 80% calls away and get to the more urgent issues.”
GOVLOOPGUIDE 012 TAKE AWAY:Support for Continued Use cautious optimism. Americans believe agencies canChange continue to improve.OptimizeCustomer 39% 91%Data of Americans are willing to share some personal informa- of Americans want to tell their story only once. So, if they are on a service call and are transferred to tion (such as their address and another person, they already have contact information) for the the background to their question. Federal government to store in a “customer profile” if it means improved customer service. “In 2011, citizens want immedi- ate changes (new password now) and I think they want all things digital” Steve Ressler Founder- Govloop.com
GOVLOOPGUIDE 013Improve OnlineServicesAs more and more Americans turn to the web for information, agencies shouldbe sure that websites post information that is easy to find, accessible, and time-ly for citizens. Make sure your website is up to date, and is providing the contentthat your customers demand. Also be sure that you are providing a consistentmessage across all your channels of communication.Executive Order Requirement From The GovLoop SymposiumEliminate Redundancies, Update Web Policies Ways to Improve Online Servicesand Guidelines There are numerous other ways too that customer ser-Jeffery Zients identifies that more than half of all Ameri- vice can be improved by improving online services. Thecans accessed a Federal website in 2010. Many services GovLoop community has provided other solutions toare now provided online and citizens are expecting more improve web practices for customer service.services to be available to them. Many agencies have al-ready adapted their websites to improve service delivery. • Develop a Live Chat Feature for Customer Ser Some websites still remain hard to navigate, outdated, or vicepoorly maintained. • Provide Automated, Personal Reminders • Create Internal/External FAQ and make it search In a post by Candi Harrison, Eliminating Websites, friendlyConsolidating Others = Better Customer Service!, Candi • Don’t forget about the Plain Language Actexpresses the power of consolidating websites and theenormous impact on customer service. By consolidating President Obama signed the Plain Writing Act of 2010websites, information is easier to find by users, decrease on October 13, 2010. Agencies are required to use “clearthe time spent looking for information and increase user Government communication that the public can under-satisfaction on the website. stand and use.” GOVLOOP TIP: “I’m not sure if it’s still the case but TSP used to mail me a new password when I wanted it reset. Really? In 2011, When Appropriate, Move to Digital citizens want immediate changes (new password now) and I think they want all things digital (I don’t know what to do An excerpt from President and Founder of w/ my print TSP statements they keep sending me - I’d love GovLoop, Steve Ressler’s blog, 10 Ideas on to store them online). If you think about it, most banks, 401k Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving style companies have transitioned most of the interactions Customer Service: to digital.”
GOVLOOPGUIDE 0145 Reasons WHyGovernment Should Engage in a Cross-Channel Contact Strategy Customer ServiceGovLoop member and impacts the ability to getRightNow employeeMelissa Hardt identifies 5 quality healthcare, or the consequence could nega- CHECKLISTreasons why Government tively impact the environ-should be engaging in ment or national security.a cross-channel contact As a result, it is critical forstrategy. agencies to manage and deliver knowledge effec-RESAON #1 tively across all channels.Significantly ReducedCommunication Work- REASON #3load Rising ConstituentCross channel contact Expectationscenters resolve problems As consumers of privatemore quickly and are better sector products and servic- Publish Customer Service Planable to provide the right es, citizens are accustomedinformation the first time. to real time responses. As Establish a Customer Service Task ForceIt promotes self-service by a result, citizens strug- Establish Your Agencies Signature Initiative gle to understand why these experiences can’t be Create a “Fast Track” Review Process replicated by a government Provide Guidance on Customer Feedback agency. To keep pace with Options the private sector, govern- ment agencies must raise Freeze Establishment of New Federal Executive service levels across all Branch Domains channels. The impact of not doing so is poor perfor- Update .Gov Domain Policy and Guidelines mance, low staff morale Eliminate Duplicative and Outdated Websites and frustrated citizens.ensuring that the informa- REASON #4tion available is the same Better Insight Into service at less cost.as what an agency subject- Emerging Issuesmatter expert would pro- REASON #5 Agencies that implementvide over the phone. It’s Very Do-able multi-channel contact centers know more about Multi-channel communica-RESAON #2 the people they serve than tion management requiresConsistant, Accurate, those that don’t. They new thinking about howand Up-to-date An- can consistently track inquiries are managedswers what people are asking and how knowledge can by phone, email, the web, be effectively leveraged.We’ve all had an experi- and chat. They can re- However, it does not re- solutions are available viaence where we have spond to that information quire major investments in the internet. Instead ofreceived bad informa- with better policies and technology infrastructuretion. However, in many processes. They can also deploying a complex CRM and may not even require application in your owncases, when a government use that information to the involvement of IT at all. improve website content, data center, you can getagency provides a wrong That’s because todays on and thereby deliver better multi-channel case man-answer it significantly demand citizen experience
GOVLOOPGUIDE 015agement and knowledgebase management capabil-ities delivered to your PCs new and improved chan- nels to communicate with government. Government RESOURCESusing nothing more than is adept to these changesyour web browser. Under and continuously lookingthis hosted delivery model, to accommodate new com-the service provider man- munication channels. Nowages all the software and it is time to advance fromunderlying server infra- offering a multi channelstructure. strategy to an integrated cross channel strategy.Technology is available and • Implementing E.O. 13571citizens expect to leverage • Presidential Executive Order -- Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer ServiceGovLoop Blog • RightNow for Gov Group • Customer Service in Government GroupPosts • Citizen Engagement and Customer Service Group • 10 Examples of Shockingly-ExcellentCustomer Service Hub on GovLoop Customer Service10 Ideas on Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving • Why Zappos Pays New Employees to Quit --Customer Service And You Should Too • Citizen Engagement Training WebinarA Time for a Change? • HowTo.gov Website22 Ideas to Improve Customer ServiceService Where You ServeIt’s All About Knowledge This Guide Created & Developed by:3 Ways to Improve Customer ServiceToo Many Websites, Too Little TimeDoes Customer Service Matter for Gov’t? 5 Examples forChange10 Ideas on Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving In Partnership with:Customer ServiceExecutive Order - Improving ServiceEliminating Websites, Consolidating Others = Better Cus-tomer Service!Stop Complaining About Your Local DMV! How WouldYou Improve It? WANT TO COLLABORATEThe New USAJobs - Great Customer Service! WITH US ON A GUIDE?What Do You Think About New Executive Order on Cus-tomer Satisfaction? We love making guides! Here at GovLoop we’re all about telling the stories of public servants. Whether it be customerWhat Is the Best Customer Experience You’ve Had? service, leadership best practices, or the latest and greatest piece of tech, we’d love to work with you to create one ofChallenges in Customer Service & Measurement? these amazing resources for the government community. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org