recommended reading

Despite Improvements, Government Still Bottom of the Barrel in Customer Experience

enciktepstudio/Shutterstock.com

For the federal government, there was really nowhere to go but up in the latest Customer Experience Index released by Forrester Research. Yet, despite a better score this time around, the government still finished dead last—as it did last year—among 21 industries assessed by Forrester. 

The report scored 319 brands based on perceptions from 122,500 customers surveyed over the past 12 months.

Scores are based on how organizations “improve the customer experience in ways that drive mission success,” according to Rick Parrish, senior analyst at Forrester, who wrote the report.

Overall, Forrester rates the federal government’s average index as “poor," with agencies generally rating from “very poor” to “OK.” A few— including top federal scorer National Park Service—were rated “good.”

While the Obama administration’s push to enhance customer service in government has led to pockets of success, most agencies are still in the infancy stages of improving customer service, according to Parrish. 

“The big picture here is some agencies are starting to get traction on managing customer experience in a systematic way,” he told Nextgov. “Agencies have been trying to do this for years, but they’ve been flailing—there’s been a lot of noise and action, but not a lot of progress. Some agencies now are figuring out how to improve their customer experience in systematic ways.”

» Get the best federal technology news and ideas delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here.

Because the average scores in Forrester’s Customer Experience Index are increasing, the government is likely to stay in last place for a while. Traditional banks, digital-only retailers, and auto and home insurance providers top the index, and even the scores of their worst brands never dip below “OK.”

Even industries with comparable scores to the government in the index—internet and TV service providers and airlines—aren’t going to be surpassed by the government in the near term.

“I do not see the federal sector overtaking any private sector industry anytime soon,” Parrish said. “The other low-scoring industries are working hard on customer experience as well, and they are working on it more systematically than those individual agencies.”

The White House established customer service as a cross-agency priority goal and more recently established a Customer Service Council of federal customer experience champions to share knowledge, best practices and use cases. But industry, Parrish said, remains much more driven to improve customer experience, partly because profit margins in today’s competitive, connected era depend upon it.

Three entities were recognized among 28 brands that made at least a five-point increase from their 2015’s third-quarter Customer Experience Index scores: the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, the Internal Revenue Service and HealthCare.gov.

Unfortunately, despite HealthCare.gov’s large improvement, it remained the lowest-scoring organization or program among the 319 rated.

Forrester will release its federal customer experience index in September, which will include individual agency assessments.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.