Know Your Baseline

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10-11-2019 George Assimakopoulos Metric Centric, Founder & Principal Manager

Federal agencies are grappling with how to interpret and implement the latest guidance from the Office of Budget and Management (OMB) in Circular A-11. Section 280 outlines details on how agencies are expected to measure and manage customer experience and improve service delivery for citizens moving forward. More than a footnote in the Federal Registry, this is a fundamental shift in how the government thinks about and treats a “federal government customer.”

As noted by MeriTalk, the General Services Administration (GSA) is already releasing a survey to help agencies begin to address this question:

“…[the GSA] released a version of its customer experience survey for high-impact Federal programs to use, as mandated by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-11, on the Federal Register today.

The proposed information collection activity will apply to all high-impact Federal programs, with GSA submitting the collections on behalf of all CFO Act agencies. The collections will be voluntary, low-burden, and non-controversial, but they will help the Federal government assess its service to citizens.

“This proposed information collection activity provides a means to garner customer and stakeholder feedback in an efficient, timely manner in accordance with the Administration’s commitment to improving customer service delivery,” the notice states.

In total, GSA estimates that agencies will create 50 feedback surveys that will reach 40 million respondents, allowing the government to collect that data, analyze program performance, and publicly release the results on performance.gov.”

Each agency impacted by the new guidance has its own unique set of priority programs and reputation to measure and evaluate. Knowing where to start when embarking on an original path of accountability, measurement, and responsiveness, as it relates to customer/constituent sentiment and perception, can be daunting. 

Every agency is now considering the 13 different points outlined by OMB, including:

  • 280.1 To which agencies does this section apply?
  • 280.2 Who is a Federal Government customer?
  • 280.3 What is Federal Government customer experience?
  • 280.4 What is Federal Government service delivery?
  • 280.5 What is the purpose of implementing this guidance?
  • 280.6 How should agencies manage customer experience?
  • 280.7 How should customer experience be measured?
  • 280.8 How should customer experience be reflected in the agency’s Annual Performance Plan?
  • 280.9 What programs have been identified as High-Impact Service Provider (HISPs)?
  • 280.10 What additional steps should HISPs take to manage customer experience?
  • 280.11 What shall the data dashboards submitted to OMB include?
  • 280.12 When are the data dashboards due?
  • 280.13 What shall HISP CX Action Plans include?

After years of evaluating, developing, and refining the most effective and efficient ways to track and measure sentiment and perception for specific audiences, we know the first place to start is with establishing a clear baseline.

There are lots of numbers and frankly, lots of noise, that distract organizations from developing a foundational understanding of sentiment and perception data. By having a clear dashboard and a single quantitative number that can provide agency leadership with a snapshot of performance, while having layers of data for interested parties to unpack.

No one “off the shelf” tool provides a comprehensive data set for evaluating an agency’s sentiment and perception metrics online. Knowing what goes into any algorithm an agency may employ is so essential. 

Metric Centric developed the Federal Agency CX Audit specifically to address the OMB guidance. The audit uses a weighted analysis of six well-recognized marketplace metrics to give agencies a benchmark of existing programs and services against success metrics calculated from public perception.

Dig in, ask questions, and decide how you can best set the baseline for your agency.

 

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