Federal agencies are turning to their employees for input on how to improve customer service, and some agencies are gathering employee and customer input using social media platforms, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office.
GAO surveyed agencies involved in 13 different services, including direct student loans, passenger and baggage screening, passport services, Social Security and medical care for veterans. All 13 services reported that within the past year they gathered ideas for improving customer service from frontline employees through staff meetings, blogs, employee suggestion programs and employee surveys. The report also identified several customer service tools agencies have used to improve customer service, including engaging customers through social media, providing self service options and offering redress for unmet standards.
But although standards exist, GAO found that the surveyed services' standards were often made available in a way that would not be easy for customers to access. For example, five services made standards available in long, detailed documents, and many have not evaluated their results against standards or the private sector, GAO found.
Still, most of the 13 services surveyed by GAO indicated that employee performance appraisals are based, in part, on customer service measures. For example, all agencies surveyed reported that performance appraisals for managers and supervisors of employees in contact with customers were based in part on customer service, while 11 surveyed services reported that performance appraisals for those employees were based in part on customer service.
Is your performance appraisal based in part on how well you serve the public? What tools do you use to engage the public, and what tools does your agency provide to collect your ideas on improving customer service?