Senators Want to Improve Agencies’ Customer Service Focus

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By on May 13, 2017 in Agency News with 0 Comments
Senator James Lankford (R-OK)

Senator James Lankford (R-OK)

Legislation has been introduced in the Senate to make it easier for federal agencies to solicit feedback from the American public about their customer service experiences.

The Federal Agency Customer Experience Act (S.1088) is being introduced by Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO). It would roll back a federal requirement that several agencies said prevented them from getting voluntary feedback from the public concerning their satisfaction with agencies’ customer service without going through a cumbersome approval process.

The legislation dictates that each agency soliciting public feedback shall ensure the following:

  1. Responses to the solicitation of voluntary feedback remain anonymous and shall not be traced to specific individuals or entities;
  2. Individuals who decline to participate in the solicitation of voluntary feedback shall not be treated differently by the agency for purposes of providing services or information;
  3. The solicitation does not include more than 10 questions;
  4. The voluntary nature of the solicitation is clear;
  5. The proposed solicitation of voluntary feedback will contribute to improved customer service;
  6. Solicitations of voluntary feedback are limited to 1 solicitation per interaction with an individual or entity;
  7. To the extent practicable, the solicitation of voluntary feedback is made at the point of service with an individual or entity;
  8. Instruments for collecting voluntary feedback are accessible to individuals with disabilities in accordance with section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794d); and
  9. Internal agency data governance policies remain in effect with respect to the collection of voluntary feedback from individuals and entities.

The bill also states that the Director of Office of Management and Budget shall work with the Administrator of General Services to develop a set of standardized questions to use by agencies in collecting feedback.

Lankford said in a statement:

One of the federal government’s core responsibilities is to efficiently serve the American people. If the American people have a problem with customer service from a federal agency, they should have a quick and easy way to let their government know there is a problem. The Federal Agency Customer Experience Act of 2017 will ensure the federal government will be more responsive to the American people. This legislation simplifies agencies’ efforts to receive voluntary customer feedback by eliminating an extensive and cumbersome interagency review process. The bill also directs agencies to post the results to their websites and requires them to use the feedback they receive to improve government services. We must do more to increase federal customer service and remove unnecessary requirements that make basic services tedious and overly bureaucratic.

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.

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