A Look at Customer Experience in Government


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Customer Experience (CX) is important to many businesses because a positive customer experience improves customer satisfaction, drives loyalty and advocacy, reduces churn, and creates a competitive advantage. It is easy to see why these concepts would be important to the private sector.

So, what is the role of CX in government? CX in government is similar to CX in the private sector. The concepts of a positive customer experience are just as relevant to the public sector, yet certain aspects may present themselves a little differently.

With that in mind, here are those concepts and thoughts on why they are important to CX in government:

Improves customer satisfaction – Government agencies are service providers, and customer, or citizen, satisfaction is the cornerstone of any service organization. Many government agencies have focused on customer service and tracked customer satisfaction as a means of measuring and understanding service levels.

Drives loyalty and advocacy – Loyalty and advocacy are critical to CX in government. They help drive compliance with the rules and regulations governments are entrusted with enforcing. They also encourage people to get more engaged with their government and speak in favor of it.

In today’s world of only ‘six degrees of separation’ people communicate quickly and often base judgements about organizations and services off of peer social media posts. Advocacy is what prompts citizens to say positive things about government services.

Reduces churn – Taxes are the primary funding source for the public sector. Governments at the local and state level rely on tax revenues to maintain service levels. This is critical because local and state governments tend to carry the burden of providing many services citizens commonly associate with government such as infrastructure, education, and social services. It is imperative to retain key businesses in a community in order to maintain expected service levels for residents and businesses.

Creates a competitive advantage – Competitive advantages can help the public sector attract and maintain businesses and inspire businesses to want to work with a specific government agency. For example, if word gets out that it is easy to work with a certain government this could help that organization attract new development into the community.

CX is no longer just for the private sector. There are many ways in which all types of government agencies, from local to state and federal, can benefit from implementing a strong CX program. The Federal Government is embracing CX after the Obama Administration invoked Executive Order 12862 for ‘Setting Customer Service Standards’.

The real question is: will your government embrace CX or ignore it?

In the future, governments that consistently deliver a positive customer experience will see higher customer satisfaction results and encounter more positive messages from the public. They will also find it easier to attract and retain businesses and maintain consistent service levels in their communities.

Kelly Ohaver
Kelly Ohaver developed and implemented a Customer Experience program for a local government. She is believed to be one of the first local government professionals dedicated to enhancing service delivery. In addition to piloting the first known Customer Experience program in local government, Kelly is also called upon to make strategic recommendations to services provided under contract.


  1. Kelly,

    This is a great way to encapsulate the similarities and the differences in government versus private sector. Loved how you laid it out in private sector terms to help us all understand. Nice piece!

  2. Heather,

    I agree. There are far more similarities than differences in government versus private sector.



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