Fedweek

Employee frustration with internal processes are passed on to the customer.

Efforts to improve service to the public, long cited as one of the public’s major frustrations with the government, must recognize that the customer service experience can be frustrating for federal employees as well, according to the administration’s latest assessment of that aspect of the President’s Management Agenda.

“In government, internal processes can be particularly difficult to navigate, IT systems can be disparate, and front-line employees experience inflexible boundaries of autonomy. Employee frustration with these barriers can be passed on to the customer,” says a posting on performance.gov.

In addition to the need to better “understand where our own processes are getting in the way of excellent service,” the update says that while senior management passes along the imperative to improve service, it is “not a priority for leadership and staff at all levels” and leaders need to “empower their employees to go about things with the customer at the forefront of their mind.”

It added that customer service interactions “are a powerful opportunity to demonstrate to citizens that their government is working for them. According to recent research, as much as 67% of trust in government can be explained by customer experience.”

In addition to clearing out internal hurdles, it recommended that agencies work to know their customers better; recognize that members of the public are focused on the problem facing them, not the process they must go through; recognize that the need for service often comes at a stressful time for them; and recognize that many people going through the process are doing so to help someone else.