Bipartisan Bill Would Elevate Federal Customer Experience

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing on Capital Hill in Washington, in this Tuesday, May 11, 2021.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing on Capital Hill in Washington, in this Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP, File)

The legislation would also create a chief customer experience officer for the federal government.

Legislation introduced in the Senate could infuse the federal government with some of the same customer experience principles in use by leading private sector companies.

Introduced by Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and James Lankford, R-Okla., the Trust in Public Service, or TIPS Act, would increase the amount of feedback agencies collect in dealing with citizens and revamp the way agencies communicate how they serve citizens.

The legislation builds on policies developed under the previous two administrations, establishing customer experience as a performance goal for the federal agencies that engage with the public the most. The TIPS Act aims to improve public trust in government institutions—which sit at near all-time lows—as well as public experience scores, which rank last among all industries.

“Restoring American citizens’ trust in government starts with helping people feel heard, and letting them know public servants are here to help solve their problems. This is not a partisan issue, and I’m glad to work with my colleague Senator Lankford on this legislation,” Murphy said in a statement. “Our bill will improve the customer experience for everyone who interacts with the federal government and help federal agencies communicate with the public about the services available to them and how government can improve their lives.”

The TIPS Act is the latest bill to address federal customer experience, joining the Federal Agency Customer Experience Act, which was introduced in mid-May by Lankford and Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H. Both bills have at least some bipartisan support, with legislators of all political affiliations in agreement that federal service delivery should more closely match the private sector.

“It will make it easier for agencies to assess how employees are performing, recognize those who provide exceptional service, and address areas needing improvements. Congress should work toward a 21st-century customer service experience for the federal government to better serve the American people,” Lankford said in a statement.

The TIPS Act would provide resources and accountability for agencies to improve their customer experience scores, and would additionally create a federal advisory commission to advise customer experience efforts. The bill directs the Government Accountability Office to assess agency customer experience efforts and trust in government and further creates a new position to oversee the federal government’s customer experience efforts: a U.S. chief customer experience officer. 

The chief customer officer would oversee the Office of Customer Experience and would be appointed by the Office of Management and Budget director within 30 days of the bill’s enactment. According to the legislation, the chief customer experience officer would consult with the heads of agencies and “serve as the chief official responsible for improving public trust in the federal government.” 

While there are several chief customer experience officers at the agency level in government, the duties of the government’s chief customer experience officer mirror those performed by chief customer officers within multinational companies.

The bill was introduced in the House by Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga.

“The Trust in Public Service Act would finally empower the federal government to incorporate customer experience across the federal enterprise with the creation of a Chief Customer Experience Officer of the United States,” Connolly said in a statement.

“The American people have a right to expect a high level of service and professionalism from our federal agencies, given they handle some of the most sensitive aspects of our lives,” Loudermilk said in a statement. 

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