Management

GSA consolidates customer service contact points

hand on phone

GSA is developing optimized telephone and email customer support for those seeking acquisition help. (Stock image)

In yet another move aimed at streamlining its capabilities for federal agency customers and vendors, the General Services Administration is about to roll out optimized telephone and email contacts for those looking for acquisition help.

The agency said the new centralized contacts will improve users' experience with Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) contracts by winnowing the collection of toll-free customer-service telephone numbers to one and standardizing the contact email address.

The consolidation, performed under GSA's Schedules Modernization program and announced on the agency's Interact community website July 31, is called Enhanced Customer Service Delivery (ECSD).

"It will increase GSA's ability to respond and does away with individual points of contact," said Greg Rollins, acting director of GSA's Center for Acquisition Support, at the Coalition for Government Procurement's GSA Marketing Outreach Forum the day of the announcement.

GSA said its previous customer service model included seven toll-free phone numbers. The new ECSD model will offer one number for schedules when it comes online Aug. 1. The centralized number will be 1-800-488-3111.

Also on Aug. 1, several GSA.gov and eLibrary webpages will be revised to reflect the standard email address of mashelpdesk@gsa.gov as the point of contact regardless of the schedule or acquisition center.

The single phone number, said Tami Riggs, assistant commissioner of GSA's Office of Customer Accounts and Research, will give callers a human voice they can use to get in touch with the agency's subject-matter experts, as well as receive answers to procedural questions.

The goal is to ensure a consistent and high-quality experience for every customer seeking acquisition assistance or access to GSA's subject-matter experts.

The centralized ECSD telephone number, she said, is manned by Federal Acquisition Service employees.

According to GSA, its new centralized number is consistent with industry practice and uses the oldest National Customer Service Center telephone number. It will not increase the number of prompts in the agency's customer phone tree, the agency said.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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