While the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) annual update to Circular A-11 features mostly minimal policy changes, section 280 on customer experience (CX) and service delivery detailed new information for agencies on CX best practices.

The update, released July 10, provides guidance on preparing the Fiscal Year 2022 budget and procedures for budget execution. Section 280 on customer experience was added just a few years ago to establish more consistent and robust CX across the Federal government.

The new guidance expands on definitions of customers and service delivery. Government “customers” now include any individuals, businesses, or organizations that interact with the Federal government directly, via contractor, or via Federally-funded programs. The definition of “service” now reflects “the sum of the help provided—by an agency and its partners—throughout the process a customer goes through to obtain, receive, or make use of a public offering.” OMB wrote that the definition was inspired by customer perception of government interactions as a whole.

Service delivery has been expanded to include two new service areas – data and research, and regulatory services. Data and research services encompass conducting or funding research and regulatory services, include providing clear guidance to support commerce, workplace safety, and other areas.

To measure CX at the Federal level, OMB provided agencies with five core functions to consider:

  • Measurement – defining and instituting CX outcome measures;
  • Governance and Strategy – institutionalizing CX by identifying executives and leaders responsible;
  • Culture and Organization – acquiring and developing the talent required to incorporate and improve CX within agency activities;
  • Customer Understanding – identifying the main occasions that result in the public making use of or interacting with Federal services; and
  • Service Design and Improvement – adopting a customer-focused approach to the implementation of services.

“Each fiscal year, agencies and programs that provide services to customers should complete a Customer Experience Capacity Assessment across these maturity model categories,” the guidance states, “and develop an action plan identifying focus areas for increasing capacity and conducting specific CX activities based on the result of the assessment and what they have learned through qualitative and quantitative customer feedback.”

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.