The Government’s Listening to Citizens? Hey, That’s Not a Bad Thing


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Government agencies are now listening to what constituents are saying. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when it comes to service and support. Via Executive Order 13571, government agencies have been tasked with pinging the Voice of the Customer, and that means actively listening across multiple channels including the phone, web and social.

“The public deserves competent, efficient, and responsive service from the Federal Government,” says the 2011 Executive Order. “Executive departments and agencies (agencies) must continuously evaluate their performance in meeting this standard and work to improve it,” which includes “establishing mechanisms to solicit customer feedback on Government services and using such feedback regularly to make service improvements.”

Does capturing customer feedback make a dramatic difference? If acted upon, yes. In 2012, the Aberdeen Group published a benchmark report on customer feedback management that examined the use and the experiences of 300 enterprise organizations. It revealed a stunning disparity between best-in-class organizations and those that were considered average or below in customer feedback management.

The survey revealed that best-in-class companies are eight times more likely to increase customer satisfaction, and 26 times more likely to increase customer retention than average companies because they maintain better customer relationships through customer feedback. Best-in-class organizations are also 19 times more likely to increase customer-focused innovation through their proactive use of feedback data.

If government agencies are able to rise to the occasion and keep pace with the best-in-class in the private sector, imagine the service and support possibilities. Where to start? Here are five simple times for managing customer feedback to collect actionable data:

  1. Limit survey questions. No one wants to complete a two-page written response survey or fill-in bubbles on rows and rows of almost-identical questions. The average human attention span is about 30 seconds (some sources say it is as little as eight). Choose five questions and make them count.
  2. Be specific. Be specific in your questions so that your agency can act on the feedback it receives. Broad questions such as “how are we doing?” or “how was your service today?” do not provide actionable data for improvement. Instead ask, “what did you enjoy/appreciate most about your service experience?” what did you find least enjoyable?”; “if we could make one improvement in our service, what should it be?”
  3. Ask consistent questions across all channels. Ask the same set of questions with the same wording across all channels be it phone, live chat, online, email, social media, mail, etc. Active social listening is also important as it allows organizations to be aware of and take action on issues as they are happening.
  4. Try to capture feedback at the point of interaction. This is when you will receive the most honest and detailed response, when the customer experience is top-of-mind. Live chat, feedback and survey tools that ask immediate questions are the best mechanisms to capture this all-important point-of-service feedback.
  5. Take action on feedback and survey data as soon as possible. Those who have offered their feedback will be waiting to see if your agency actually follows up. Don’t disappoint by gathering customer feedback and then doing nothing with it. Take action on key issues, and then circle back and let the public know that your agency is listening and responding to the Voice of the Customer.

For more government customer service best practices and advice from leading analysts, download Parature’s latest whitepaper, Multi-Channel Service: Elect to Serve Your Constituents, covering key topics in government customer service and constituent engagement including:

  • Providing ‘no wrong door’ access
  • Moving to the cloud
  • Capturing voice of the customer feedback
  • Using service to drive revenues and compete with the private sector
  • Leveraging cloud technology simplicity to attract, retain and maximize IT talent.

Click here to download.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tricia Morris
Tricia Morris is a product marketing director at 8x8 with more than 20 years of experience at technology companies including Microsoft and MicroStrategy. Her focus is on customer experience, customer service, employee experience and digital transformation. Tricia has been recognized as an ICMI Top 50 Thought Leader, among the 20 Best Customer Experience Blogs You Must Follow, and among the 20 Customer Service Influencers You Must Follow.


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