OMB will use dashboard to rate agencies' customer service

Federal agencies are using social media, websites to boost service scores

Federal officials are preparing to release a new online dashboard to highlight how agencies score on customer service as they adopt social networking tools to engage the public, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

The Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies are developing the dashboard to display and compare agencies’ customer service standards and levels of customer satisfaction. The relevant metrics include waiting times, processing times and the percentage of problems resolved with a single phone call or online interaction. OMB expects the dashboard to launch in late 2010, according to the GAO report released Oct. 27.

GAO said the dashboard would be a step toward improving service but noted that more work needs to be done for agencies to identify and share best practices with one another and share information with customers.


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“The OMB pilot dashboard initiative has the potential to facilitate agency efforts to make customer service standards and results readily available to customers, but has not yet been launched,” the report states.

While the dashboard is being developed, agencies should consider additional steps to inform the public of their customer service efforts and scores, including setting up a Web page for that purpose, GAO said.

To improve customer service, agencies in the United States and around the world are communicating with the public via blogs, offering refunds for poor service and incorporating customer service into employee performance reviews, GAO said.

In addition, OMB issued a memo in May clarifying the process by which it approves agencies' requests to collect data. Many federal agencies have said delays in that process hamper their ability to solicit customer feedback.

GAO also advised OMB to collaborate with the President’s Management Advisory Board and agencies to evaluate the costs, benefits and best practices for improving customer service and holding agencies accountable for their scores.

OMB did not comment on the recommendations, GAO said.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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