President Obama’s executive order to improve customer service across the federal government is political pabulum, but little else. If it were that easy, it would have already been done.
- Reduce Costs
- Improve Revenues
- Improve Satisfaction and Retention
But the government (acting as a monopoly) and federal employees have little incentive to change. The government shouldn’t be improving revenues through services, though cutting costs would be welcome.
Improving customer service in the federal government will require sweeping changes across the government… changes for which political parties of all persuasions have shown little appetite. If the government is intent on this path, here are some “must haves”:
- Eliminate Redundant Agencies – I wouldn’t use a politician’s view on “redundant” here. Focus on the outcome, or intended benefit, the organization purports to deliver.
- Simplify Existing Processes – It is possible that such simplification may make things somewhat unfair for various special interest groups. Err on the side of over-simplification… we can always re-create the processes if necessary.
- Train People – Do Steps 1 and 2 first, to help slim down the number of people to train, and the complexity of the training that must occur.
- Offer Meaningful Incentives – This notion will violate some unspoken rule of fairness since some will be compensated differently than others. But find the incentive that will cause people to seek change, rather than avoid it. The government of the world’s greatest free market economy has shown amazing resilience to operating by its maxims.
The pivot point is that change in customer service must span organizational boundaries; it can’t happen at a departmental level.