Obama Says Customer Experience is a Big Deal. Is it?

Obama appeared on The Daily Show July 21

Obama appeared on The Daily Show July 21 Comedy Central

In recent years, the White House has prioritized customer experience as a pillar for government success.

On his final appearance on "The Daily Show," President Obama talked about technologygovernment modernization and – perhaps most important – his administration’s push to improve the relationship between federal agencies and the customers they serve.

“Can we make stuff a lot better than it has been?” Obama said. “How do we make an SBA loan easier to get? How do we make sure this agency is more customer friendly? How do we make sure people can go to one website instead of 16 to find out information they need?”

This is Customer Experience 101, and while private sector companies like Disney and Amazon are heads of the class, government agencies are traditionally found at the bell curve’s bottom.

But in reality, that’s mostly because government agencies started Customer Experience School a little later than their private sector counterparts. Only in recent years has the White House prioritized customer experience as a pillar for government success. That includes the creation of a cross-agency customer service working group, frequented by some of the foremost experts in improving customer experience, in an effort to share best practices and success stories.

While it’s easy to talk about customer experience blunders – the government has plenty – it’s important to discuss where customer experience is improving across government.

On Aug. 5, Government Executive and Nextgov will host a forum titled “Measuring Success in Customer Experience” at the Newseum aiming to do just that.

The federal government’s first chief customer experience officer, Brenda Wensil at the Education Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid, will provide the opening keynote. Her office’s pioneering efforts at Education are widely considered among the government’s most developed customer experience use cases.

Tom Allin, the chief veteran experience officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs, will provide the closing keynote. Allin’s position was created in January. Some of his early efforts include consolidating more than 1,000 websites and phone numbers into one portal and number, respectively.

In between keynotes, two panels will talk about advancements across the federal customer experience landscape as well as using data to drive decisions that affect customers.

Speakers also  include:

  • Ruby Burrell, chief strategic officer at the Social Security Administration
  • Rajive Mathur, director of the Office of Online Services for the IRS
  • Dennis Alvord, executive director of BusinessUSA
  • Rick Parrish, senior analyst at Forrester Research
  • Stephanie Thum, vice president of customer experience for the Export-Import Bank of the United States
  • Martha Dorris, director of the Office of Strategic Programs, Federal Acquisition Service/Information Technology Service, General Services Administration

For more information, register here. A live stream will also be provided.