Federal Manager's Daily Report

A recent survey of agency officials showing only “modest” satisfaction with the quality of mission support they receive in areas such as HR, IT, financial management and contracting shows that those providers need to refocus on their customers and become strategic partners with them, according to the Partnership for Public Service.

“Building and maintaining strong relationships with colleagues is important for delivering services effectively and offering a good customer experience contributes to that goal. The result is better value to organizations overall,” says a white paper done with the Medallia customer experience consulting firm.

“Some mission-support service organizations operate with the idea that their primary goal is to keep the agency in compliance with the rules and processes governing service delivery,” it says. “With compliance as the only goal, providers may not see that a good customer experience could help agencies better deliver on their mission. With a customer-centered mindset, providers seek to deliver value to their customers and organizations.”

That shift can begin with a strategy as simple as having the providers of services call the recipients customers rather than employees but also “includes a willingness to listen to customer feedback, even when it is negative” through tools such as surveys and feedback channels.

To become strategic partners to the customers also requires a shift by providers “from simply completing transactions to proactively solving problems” by anticipating future needs and helping the customers plan for them, it adds.