Bridging Horizons: Innovating Customer Experience in Federal Civilian Services



Presented by Verizon

In an era where the demand for seamless, efficient, and responsive services is ever-growing, the federal government's civilian agencies are at a pivotal juncture to redefine how they interact with and serve the public. "Bridging Horizons: Innovating Customer Experience in Federal Civilian Services" is a thought-provoking podcast brought to you by Verizon. This podcast aims to illuminate the path forward in elevating customer experience within the federal government. Through a series of in-depth interviews with esteemed government executives and a visionary leader from Verizon, the program delves into the confluence of challenges, opportunities, and technological innovations shaping the future of public service.

The podcast seeks to uncover the unique perspectives and strategies employed by the federal government's civilian side to meet and exceed the public's expectations. From digital transformation and cybersecurity to personalized services and operational efficiency, our guests will explore the myriad ways in which technology and strategic vision can enhance the customer journey. "Bridging Horizons" not only aims to spotlight the critical importance of customer experience but also to inspire actionable change and innovation within government services, ensuring they remain agile, accessible, and attuned to the needs of the American people.


Enhancing Customer Experience at the FDA: Challenges and Innovations

Lehman-Josh-600x641pxJoshua Lehman, Chief Customer Experience Officer and Director, Office of Customer Experience at the FDA discusses the multifaceted challenges and strategic approaches in enhancing the customer experience at the FDA. He highlights the persistent issue of funding, noting that federal agencies often need to do more with less. To address this, Lehman emphasizes the importance of process optimization and the integration of advanced technologies to increase operational efficiency. By leveraging technology, the FDA aims to streamline processes and better serve the public despite financial constraints.

Lehman also points out the critical role of specialized personnel in meeting the demands of the public. Contact centers, for instance, face significant challenges in managing high call volumes with limited agents, leading to long wait times. He underscores the necessity of having experts focused on their core missions, such as FBI agents prioritizing security over IT tasks, to ensure excellence in their primary duties while seeking external support for technological advancements.

Furthermore, Lehman advocates for robust collaboration with industry leaders to bring in expertise and innovative solutions. This partnership helps federal agencies stay updated with the latest technological trends and solutions, which is crucial for maintaining high standards of customer service. By fostering such collaborations, the FDA can address its complex challenges more effectively and enhance its service delivery.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Funding and Technology: Addressing funding challenges through technological advancements and process optimization is crucial for enhancing customer experience.

  2. Specialized Personnel: The need for specialized personnel to handle specific tasks and leverage new technologies is essential for efficient operations.

  3. Collaboration with Industry: Partnering with industry leaders to bring in expertise and innovative solutions helps in addressing complex challenges and improving service delivery.

Transforming Federal Customer Service with Technology

1516304877887Brian Pancia, Sr Client Partner - Solutions at Verizon provides an in-depth look into the major challenges federal agencies face in adhering to executive orders on customer experience and adopting new technologies. He identifies three core issues: funding, personnel, and outdated technology. Pancia explains that federal agencies often struggle with limited funding, which impacts their ability to invest in new technologies and hire adequate personnel. These constraints lead to long wait times for customers, sometimes up to four hours, and necessitate innovative solutions to improve service efficiency.

To tackle these issues, Verizon has implemented various technological solutions in federal agencies. One notable example is the voice callback solution, which significantly reduces customer wait times by allowing them to receive a callback instead of waiting on hold. Additionally, natural language IVRs (Interactive Voice Response) systems are being used to handle common customer inquiries efficiently, freeing up agents to focus on more complex issues. These technologies have proven effective, with some agencies increasing their call answer rates from 12% to 88% in just two years.

Pancia also highlights the importance of continuous education and collaboration between federal agencies and industry experts. Educating agency personnel about new technologies and their benefits is crucial for successful implementation. Moreover, understanding and complying with government regulations, such as FedRAMP, is essential for ensuring the security and effectiveness of new technological solutions. This ongoing partnership helps agencies navigate the complexities of technology adoption and improve their customer service capabilities.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Voice Callback Solutions: Implementing voice callback solutions has significantly reduced customer wait times and improved satisfaction.

  2. Natural Language IVRs: The use of natural language IVRs enhances customer interaction by providing quick and accurate responses to common queries.

  3. Education and Collaboration: Continuous education and collaboration between federal agencies and industry experts are vital for successful technology adoption and regulatory compliance.

Leveraging Data for Enhanced Veteran Experience at the VA

1657288811513Evan Albert, Director of Measurement and Data Analytics at the VA outlines the comprehensive approach the Veterans Experience Office takes in using data to enhance veteran services. The VA employs around 180 customer experience surveys and other listening tools, all feeding into the V Signals system. This enterprise-wide repository collects data on various aspects of veteran experience, from healthcare to memorial services. The immediate availability of this data allows leaders and analysts to identify trends and emerging concerns, driving improvements in quality and service delivery.

Albert explains that this data-driven approach has led to significant improvements in specific areas. For example, feedback on the disability compensation appeals process revealed that explanatory materials were unclear, leading to frustration among veterans. By addressing these concerns, the VA has improved transparency and provided veterans with the information they need to navigate the appeals process more effectively. This focus on trust and satisfaction is crucial, as it directly impacts veterans' willingness to continue engaging with VA services.

The VA's approach has garnered attention from other federal agencies seeking to enhance their own customer experience programs. Albert emphasizes the importance of having a dedicated team of data scientists, project managers, and qualitative researchers to support this effort. By combining quantitative data with qualitative insights, the VA creates comprehensive journey maps that highlight moments that matter in veterans' experiences. This holistic approach ensures that the VA remains responsive to veterans' needs and continuously improves its services.

Key Takeaways:

  1. V Signals System: The V Signals system provides real-time data on veteran experiences, enabling timely analysis and quality improvements.
  3. Trend Identification: Identifying trends and emerging concerns through data analysis helps drive systemic improvements and build trust with veterans.

  4. Comprehensive Management: A dedicated customer experience management system with skilled personnel and robust processes is essential for effective service delivery and continuous improvement.

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