Each Congress considers over 10,000 bills, and virtually none of them ever explicitly focus on customer experience (CX). However, some bills do have implications for federal CX. And although just 3% of bills ever become law, federal CX advocates should stay informed of proposals from the start. That way, we can suggest improvements, help good ideas become law, and plan for what happens when they do.
That’s why I’m starting this new weekly blog series. Every week while Congress is in session, I’ll take a look at a few new bills that could affect federal CX and offer my initial thoughts on each. I hope my views start a weekly conversation about which bills seem most promising for federal CX and the overall role Congress should play in improving the federal customer experience.
Let’s begin by taking a look at two bills that House leadership recently assigned to committee:
- Government Transformation Act. This bill stresses traditional process efficiencies that could actually harm federal CX. The bill proposes a seven-member Commission on Government Transformation to assess and advise on the efficiency and effectiveness of federal programs. It states that commission members should be experts in “efficiency, waste reduction, finance and economics, or actuarial sciences.” That may seem well and good, but federal and private-sector CX professionals alike understand that customer-focused organizations must optimize for different efficiencies. Even the most common-sense solutions run up against old-style efficiency roadblocks: Witness the battles that federal call center operators must fight to replace wrongheaded efficiency-based success metrics like average handling time with CX-based success metrics like first-call resolution or Net Promoter Score.
- Citizen Empowerment Act of 2015. Although the text of this bill doesn’t live up to its grand title, it could improve federal CX slightly. The bill explicitly allows individuals to create audio recordings of their interactions with federal employees who are speaking with them about a possible violation of a law or regulation. This bill could improve federal CX slightly because those few employees who might otherwise be insensitive to customers will be more respectful and professional if they know they are being recorded. There’s one big hole in the bill, though — it does not explicitly allow individuals to record conversations with federal contractors, only with employees. The fix is easy, though: Simply add language related to contractors or include a definition in section (a) to clarify that “federal employee” means contractors, too.
By the way, if you'd like a refresher on why improving federal CX is so important, check out my report "Federal Agencies Must Improve Their Customer Experience," which discusses the 14 reasons why great federal CX is so important.