New Report Suggests More Progress Needed in Efforts to Improve Federal Government Customer Service

Survey of federal managers finds high degree of confidence in their agency's customer service despite gaps in funding for new customer-centered technology and process improvements

Aug 04, 2015, 06:00 ET from Deloitte Digital from ,Government Business Council

WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Federal managers have confidence in their organization's customer service programs despite modest progress in improving them, according to "The Path to Customer-Centric Service," a new survey by Government Business Council (GBC) and Deloitte Digital. Sixty seven percent of respondents say their organization provides customer service quality on par with the private sector, while 65 percent say it provides a customer experience tailored to its user's unique needs.

Despite a strong positive general sentiment about customer service, only 47 percent of respondents say their organization does a good job of soliciting customer feedback. Few respondents say their organization has taken steps to implement meaningful process improvements like prioritizing improvements to high-impact interactions (32 percent), aligning employee incentives with customer-centric service (15 percent), or appointing a chief customer officer (6 percent).

"What we're seeing is a disconnect between federal leaders and the general public when it comes to their perceptions of federal customer service," said Zoe Grotophorst, Director of Research & Content Services at GBC. "On the one hand, it's encouraging to see that most are optimistic about their agency's ability to deliver high-quality services. But on the other, the report identifies a number of organizational challenges that many agencies have yet to address if they want to be considered equal to the private sector in the eyes of their customers."

The report comes on the heels of a difficult year for federal customer service programs. Public approval of federal customer service fell to at an eight-year low in 2014, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), a leading cross-industry consumer survey. Further, federal customer service ranks near the bottom of all industries included in the 2014 ACSI study.

The GBC/Deloitte Digital survey also suggests that the slow pace of technology adoption is exacerbating agencies' challenges. "Customer expectations for new service delivery platforms are increasing, but we do not have the resources to bring these platforms online as quickly as public preferences are changing," said one respondent, "That creates a drag on our ability to affect change."

"When you look across the federal government, departments and agencies are very diverse when it comes to their cultures, missions and customers," said Greg Pellegrino, Principal and customer strategy specialist at Deloitte Consulting LLP. "As agencies work to strengthen public confidence and satisfaction with government services, their efforts can benefit from focusing on their customers – everything from how they develop new processes to deploy digital solutions."

According to the study, some of the key factors driving customer service improvements, as well as some of the obstacles limiting them, vary based on the core mission of the organization in question. Respondents whose agencies are tasked with providing transactional services like healthcare, for instance, are more likely to cite the need to improve customer satisfaction as their main priority, whereas those whose agencies are more involved in regulation and enforcement are most concerned with complying with federal mandates.

More information available here.

About Government Business Council

Government Business Council (GBC), the research arm of Government Executive Media Group, is dedicated to advancing the business of government through analysis and insight. GBC partners with industry to share best practices with top government decision makers, understanding the deep value inherent in industry's experience engaging and supporting federal agencies. Learn more at

About Deloitte Digital

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SOURCE Deloitte Digital; Government Business Council