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Accenture Federal Services Co-Authors Report Calling for Customer-Centric Government Services; Megan Peterman Quoted

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A new report released by Accenture Federal Services and the Partnership for Public Service, “Designing a Government for the People: Collaborative Approaches to Federal Customer Experience,” details the two organizations’ recommendations for improved customer experience in federal agencies.

According to the report, government entities should tailor their CX systems to fit users’ lives to provide a simple, seamless and secure process, Accenture disclosed from Arlington, Virginia on Tuesday.

“Truly shifting from a culture of waivers and workarounds to a deeply embedded, customer-centric mindset requires greater collaboration and investment among multiple stakeholders beyond the core CX community – including finance, human resources, legal, and beyond – to address long-standing barriers,” explained Megan Peterman, customer experience and design leader at Accenture Federal Services. 

To create the report, the two organizations interviewed customer experience professionals, individuals involved with designing and implementing services in federal agencies and experts from research institutes and universities.

Content from these interviews indicates a gap between federal processes and organizational methods and customer needs. The report states that these systems, which were built with agency use in mind, do not serve customers with the same efficiency.

2021 Executive Order referenced in the report called upon government agencies to reduce the burden these processes place on customers, which the White House states was over nine billion hours in recent years. According to the report, the shift to customer-centric systems requires a transformation of the way the government conducts business.

The report recommends using root cause analysis as opposed to focusing on symptoms of the issues when determining customer’s problems and possible solutions.

Accenture Federal Services and the Partnership for Public Service identified seven steps federal agencies should take when moving to a customer-centric mindset, which span the areas of agency leadership, technology and most importantly, communication.

“When we give federal agencies the correct tools to implement positive change in their customer experience systems, they do so effectively,” said Loren DeJonge Schulman, vice president of research, evaluation and modernizing government at the Partnership for Public Service.

The first two steps, empowered leadership and an engaged and accountable agency enterprise, suggest that insights on customer experience should be distributed within organizations and agency-wide standards for customer experience performance should be established.

Steps three, four and five call for a knowledge mobilization strategy to solve customer problems, a data-sharing policy infrastructure and a digital enterprise to ensure a consistent customer experience.

The last two recommendations push for external partnerships and collaboration with customers, which would enable federal agencies to consider information from important resources outside of the government during this process.

“If agencies listen to customers first, they can overcome historic physical, emotional, and resource barriers,” DeJonge Schulman stated.