Bill Would Create Federal Customer Service Standards

And once set, it would bake them into agency performance plans.

A pair of lawmakers want federal agencies to provide more consistent—and better—customer service for the millions of people who interact with them on a daily basis.

In an effort to improve the government’s dismal customer experience, Reps. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga. and Gerry Connolly, D-Va., introduced legislation that would create customer service standards federal agencies would need to meet.

The Government Customer Service Accountability and Improvement Act follows other customer-focused legislative efforts from Congress, including the Customer Experience Act, which awaits a House vote, and the Connected Government Act, which passed last year.

If passed, the bill directs the Office of Management and Budget director to “select certain agencies”—including the IRS, Veterans Affairs Department and Office of Personnel Management, at a minimum—to develop customer experience standards and performance plans at those agencies.

Standards must be based on customer and market research that identifies services most important to citizens and must be collected through qualitative and quantitative research methods “that incorporate voluntary feedback from citizens,” the bill states.

The bill mandates that approved customer service standards and performance plans be included in agency performance plans, and must be made publicly available.

One year after the bill’s passage, the OMB director would be responsible for establishing a pilot program to provide assistance to other agencies that don’t meet customer service standards. The pilot would evaluate efforts the agency has undertaken to improve service delivery; develop a plan with short- and long-term goals; monitor implementation of that plan until customer service standards are met and submit progress report to the OMB director every six months.

Further down the road, the legislation directs the OMB director to submit annual customer service reports to the House Oversight and Government Reform and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees.