This November, members of the TTEC Digital public sector team attended CX Summit 2022, an event organized around the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) for delivering excellent, equitable, and secure federal services to help rebuild trust in government. Hosted by the American Council for Technology - Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC), this year’s summit provided a collaborative forum for federal government executives and customer experience industry professionals to discuss the progress being made to advance the objectives of the Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government.
Particularly exciting was the role of our own Megan Eunpu, Vice President of Digital Sales for Federal at TTEC, ACT-IAC Fellow and just-appointed CX COI Program Chair for future events. Eunpu has years of experience helping contact center leaders in federal agencies improve their omnichannel customer experience by leveraging technology to improve the citizen experience across all points of the customer journey. We caught up with her and Aaron Mosby, Vice President of Public Sector Account Management to get their takeaways on what they learned at the summit.
Takeaway #1: CX Will Continue to Be Prioritized
The executive order continues to get a lot of attention and is a driving force in adopting CX strategies at the federal level. However, CX transformations are long-term investments that take years to develop, while presidential administrations last for only 4 or 8 years. As a result, some agencies are slow to adopt, thinking that the investment might not be worth it if the executive order were to change under a different administration.
The CX Summit offered a valuable reminder that the executive order isn’t the only place CX is becoming ingrained in Federal government go-forward strategies. The Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Section 280, Circular A-11 provides guidance to federal agencies on preparing budgets and Section 280 is specific to managing customer experience and improving service. As Mosby phrased it, “The OMB is driving CX initiatives and positioning customer experience in really sophisticated ways, making it possible for agencies to put money behind them and make them real.”
Additionally, Mosby pointed out that some legislators are now working on codifying these CX requirements into law, so that it is less dependent on any one administration. With at least two bills introduced, the prioritization of CX isn’t going anywhere anytime soon — and the best time for agencies to start their transformation is now.
Takeaway #2: CX Isn’t Just for Citizens
One takeaway Eunpu pointed out is that CX in the public sector isn’t just for citizens. It may seem an obvious point to make, but the experiences being created in the public sector don’t always reflect this reality. There are a variety of different audiences, with different needs, that must be considered in the design and orchestration of CX experiences.
“Federal agencies often have multiple customers within a program, so taking time to understand who those customers are and how we apply the same principles to different audiences, whether it’s externally facing to the public, or internally facing to employees, could make a huge difference in their experience.” Agency employees and agency partners might have slightly different needs than the average citizen, but will still have to interact with your organization through many of the same channels.
This is a helpful reminder that the best CX transformation starts with a strong strategy. Knowing who your CX is for, and what their unique needs are, can help you choose the right strategy and technology. “If the employee is happy, the customer is happy, and vice versa — even when there are challenges,” adds Megan Eunpu.
Takeaway #3: CX Momentum is Building
As Mosby pointed out, the Summit was much more popular this year. The Act-IAC CX Summit started in 2014 with 150 registrants. This year, 500 registrants participated both virtually and in-person, making it clear that CX in the public sector is gaining momentum. “The interest is growing. We’re really at a tipping point,” he said.
Interestingly, a comment was made correlating where federal cloud transformation was about 10 years ago with CX transformation today, suggesting the two have similar timeline paths. Back then, some federal agencies thought that getting to the cloud was impossible — not just difficult, but impossible. Now, nearly every agency has workloads in the cloud or a clear plan to get there. What happened? A mental shift occurred, where privacy concerns that had previously seemed like barriers became processes that were built into the cloud migration.
A similar mental shift is starting to happen when it comes to CX. Agencies are thinking about requirements in the public sector, like the Privacy Act or the Paperwork Reduction Act, as processes that need to be folded into CX initiatives—not barriers to making it happen.
Takeaway #4: It All Comes Back to Trust
Constituents are experiencing better CX in retail, healthcare, and other industries, and taking these newly raised expectations to their interactions with government agencies. While private sector organizations measure their CX investments against their ROI, public sector organizations must measure their success in how it helps them build trust.
Building trust is one of the driving factors behind the Biden executive order on improving CX. Trust is one of the best metrics for assessing improvement in the government and can be cultivated by creating better citizen experiences. For example, as IRS Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer Ken Corbin shared at the Summit, when the IRS instituted a call back feature, more than 5.7 million citizens opted to use it, saving a cumulative 1.7 million hours of hold time. This helped improve customer experience over the previous year, where citizens could expect to wait on hold for an average of 22 minutes. As Ken Corbin phrased it, “showing everyone, the community, the stakeholders, that saving 1.7 million hours of hold time is a way to connect—It’s a way to show that matters.”
Projects that save constituents time and demonstrate that agencies know the value of their effort and money, can, over time, build better experiences that lead to more trust. This ROI might not be as measurable as a line item in a quarterly report, but the impact will be invaluable and ongoing.