House to press agencies on customer service

Back from its August recess, the House is expected to pass legislation Sept. 12 regarding customer service standards for agencies.

The Government Customer Service Improvement Act (H.R. 538) would require the Office of Management and Budget to develop performance measures and standards for agencies and incorporate the standards into employee performance appraisals. In addition, agencies would have to designate a customer relations representative to assure compliance, and officials would have to gather input from customers to measure their service performance.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reported in June that existing law falls short in promoting good customer service. Some agencies have customer services standards; others, however, do not.

“Agencies currently have discretionary authority to include ‘courtesy demonstrated to the public’ in employee performance appraisals,” according the committee’s report on the bill.

Citing a MeriTalk survey on customer service from 2011, only 31 percent of 1,000 people surveyed were very satisfied with the government’s service. Moreover, 79 percent said the government can do a better job.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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