Improving Federal Websites and Measuring Effectiveness of Your Customer Service Plan


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How far along is your agency in implementing the Customer Service Plan mandated in President Obama’s Executive Order 13571 – Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service?

How are you addressing the activities outlined in the Appendix of Memo M-11-24 – Implementing Executive Order 13571? The Appendix provides the roadmap for how to create the Customer Service Plan with specific focus on:

  • The need for establishing ways to receive customer feedback
  • Developing a process for evaluating the entire customer experience
  • Analyzing customer preferences for interactions from less preferred and more costly channels (print) to preferred, less costly channels (online, mobile)
  • Reporting progress in meeting customer service standards

If you have an existing measurement strategy in place, you should be able to create the metrics to evaluate and analyze the services being addressed through your existing set of tools and methods.

However, what if you don’t have an existing measurement strategy in place, or tools to support a measurement strategy?

You can potentially develop something quickly to meet the Plan delivery deadline by the end of October. You can then develop a cohesive measurement strategy that takes a longer term perspective. This is something to think about if you want to use data to drive ongoing decisions about customer service, eliminate outdated and duplicative web sites and derive operational efficiencies on web site development…all objectives that the Executive Order is encouraging agencies to act on.

So what does a short term measurement plan look like? Let’s look at a minimal and inexpensive tool set that will measure three key aspects of online customer service that is addressed by the Plan.

1. Web Analytics – Tool: Google Analytics – free; easy to implement, easy to derive value

To use Google Analytics, you need to be in compliance with OMB Memo M-10-22 especially on being clear about opt-out options on web measurement. See my blog post from last year for what you need to do to be in compliance:

Uses: For measuring the number of visitors using the site, the number of starts and completion (such as for a form, or multi-step process), geographic location of visitors, where visitors originate. Segment these basic metrics by first time and repeat visitors, domain name, content interest (professional, consumer, and researcher).

Sample Metrics

Task Completion Effectiveness: Indicates visitor interest in and successful completion of tasks

Definition: Measures completion of site tasks associated with NIH or IC mission.

Calculation: Expressed as a percentage based on the total number of task completion page views divided by total number of site page views. A higher percentage indicates more successful task completion.

Return on Investment – Provides quantifiable cost/benefit analysis of budget and time expended on Web site operations.

Definition: Measures return on investment in web site operations, content, applications, and labor in context with budget spent on these initiatives.

Calculation: Task Completion ROI: Number of Task Completions multiplied by $ value given to each Task Completion type compared to total expenditure on creation of Task application or in Avoided Cost alternative to manual labor.

2. Post-Transaction Customer Survey – Tool: SurveyMonkey, Zoomerang – inexpensive; easy to implement, easy to derive value

Uses: For understanding whether the service altered behavior after use, obtaining feedback on how to improve the service, as well as why service was improvement over offline alternatives.

3. Customer Satisfaction Survey – Tool: QuestionPro – inexpensive; easy to implement, easy to derive value

Uses: Provide insight into whether visitors found what they were seeking and whether they were satisfied with the quality of the content they viewed or the transaction that was completed.

To use surveys, and a host of other voluntary collection mechanisms, you’ll need to participate in the new Fast Track Process for Collecting Service Delivery Feedback under the Paperwork Reduction Act. Your agency is likely participating in this initiative already. You can refer to OMB Memo M-11-26 for the details of the process and for supporting information.

Whether you have an existing web measurement strategy or need to come up with a short term plan, the key to getting value from the data that has been collected is to analyze each set in context with its purpose in evaluating the service. The data should be complementary.

In my next post, I’ll discuss how to “triangulate” data analysis from the different measurement methods at your disposal.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Phil Kemelor
In his role as Vice President of Strategic Consulting Services, Kemelor helps companies deploy and use web analytics successfully. Kemelor, a noted author and speaker on web analytics, is a former journalist, marketing executive and 14-year Internet veteran. He has 10 years of experience in web analytics and previously headed the web analytic program at Bell Atlantic. He co-founded and served as Principal Consultant for the web analytics consultancy at NetGenesis, one of the first web analytic software firms and led engagements with a number of Fortune 500 firms.


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