Federal CIO talks customer experience

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Clare Martorana says that the government is working with the private sector to measure how it delivers products and services as part of an effort to improve the experiences Americans have with government services.

Clare Martorana, federal chief information officer, has her eye on tech talent and success metrics as leaders in federal agencies carry out the White House's customer experience agenda laid out in the management agenda and an executive order on customer experience.

The intention is to make government services less onerous for Americans. This effort includes goals set by the administration to increase flagging levels of trust and satisfaction in government by making government services easier to use, and also dovetails with another executive order issued in January 2021 on racial equity.

A diverse arsenal of tech talent is critical, said Martorana at a Tuesday Adobe event, calling it the "cornerstone of delivering equitable government."

"We need technical talent from all across America to work delivering the products for all Americans [and] to, again, ensure that we're not building bias into the products and services that we deliver," she said.

The design processes within agencies are also going to be essential to delivering better services, as are measurement and survey tools, said Martorana.

"We have to work and design our products with our customers, and through that, it actually does help you think about the outcomes that you're trying to drive," she said. 

For metrics, the government is "learning from our private sector partners about how they measure products and services," said Martorana, continuing on to say that that involves "everything from, did someone finish completing a task? How long did it take to complete the task? Were the customers able to use self-service tools versus having to interact directly with somebody through a call center or using a chatbot?"

Martorana also pointed to a focus on using cutting-edge tools and surveys to assess both internal processes in citizen-facing services, but also how Americans feel about their experiences with government. 

"We are focused on utilizing newer tools, survey tools, making sure that we are able to not only do a full technical assessment of our own workflow flows and processes in those customer facing benefits and services, but also making sure that we are measuring basic customer satisfaction," she said.

Finally Martorana also pointed to more "personalization" of services as a "next step" within the effort to deliver government services along the lines of the circumstances that bring Americans to government, as opposed to the bureaucratic setup of agencies and budgets.

"Building back that trust in government means meeting people where they are. The online digital is what we're talking about as our areas of expertise, but sometimes it can be through the mail, in person or through a call center," said Martorana. "Every single interaction with government and the public, whether it involves filing your taxes or renewing a passport, is an opportunity for us to deliver value, service and efficiency … Every single interaction is absolutely mission critical."