Wanted – Women CIOs in Federal Government

About 18% of chief information officers or chief technology officers at big U.S. firms are women, according to a Korn Ferry analysis conducted in early 2019 covering the country’s top 1,000 public and private companies by revenue. That’s up from 16% in 2017.

An informal survey indicates the number of females leading IT operations in the federal government is even less than the national average.  However, in the government, a lot of women have a great reputation in the technology field which includes, but not limited to, Federal Chief Information Officer Suzette Kent, Dana Deasy, CIO, Department of Defense, and Renee Wynn, CIO, NASA.

Federal CIO Advice

Worldwide spending on information technology is expected to reach near-$4 trillion this year, according to Gartner, with the fastest growth rates in enterprise software, IT services, and data-center spending, as the cloud still booms and greater cyberthreats loom. Larger technology budgets and resources are being made to improve the customer experience for customers and employers. Therefore, it is very important for women to be at the table to help bring their diverse expertise and experience to drive those discussions and have the authority on where to prioritize those investments.

Women in the public sector have played pivotal roles in moving toward a more open, innovative, and responsive government.  Women can move up their career ladder and get hired on the government IT jobs. It is not an easy task but is not impossible indeed.

Women climbing the ladder would have to make their own place in the government sector by following this advice:

Be Passionate
Try to be passionate. It is crucial to make your work your passion so that you can enjoy it. Taking pleasure in your work is quite a motivator. If you will have a passion for your work, then you will be able to pay full attention to it and will achieve success shortly. There are about 8 million women who have started doing work, which they love in different Government sectors and received success in those positions. You should come up with new ideas, increase your responsibilities and try to get more projects. These things will lead you to success and make you more visible.
Make Yourself Valuable
It is time to make yourself useful so that you can get hired in the government. Perfection is important for all. Simply, finish your work on time, try to solve problems and figure out the solutions quickly and provide better services than others. These are the primary qualities that can make you valuable.
Be a Risk Taker
Many women are afraid of taking risks. They are afraid of failure. NO! Never do that! Risks can find you new ways to success. It is better to be brave and bold to perform different tasks. Do not be rigid as it can be a hurdle between you and your success. Take different risks and always believe that you can do it. If you would believe, then you can do! Think new ideas, do research and then implement your ideas. These things are important for getting hired in the Government IT sectors.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing the way we receive information, how we process it, how we work and what jobs we will do. Because of this, we simply cannot afford to have any less than our whole population engaged and contributing.  Women can and will be critical to leveraging this revolution to benefit our global society.

About Me: I am a pioneer in the field of Government Customer Experience Management and have devoted an entire career to bettering the lives of everyone around me through my work. I am right at home as the CEO of GovCX Professionals where I am able to spend all my time focusing on establishing government and their partners with a building a welcoming, innovative, and engaging government customer service experience.

 

Using User Design for Government Digital CX

Let’s be clear about my position – the government will better serve all stakeholders by establishing a focus to oversee the design and implementation of a human-centered design-centric digital strategy that:

The Business Case for Using HCD:

  • Streamlines, integrates, and scales websites and call centers consistently over time,
  • Takes a holistic, iterative approach to prioritizing improvements across channels,
  • Maintains a mobile-experience first philosophy (people seeking information often use mobile devices first because they want information immediately, or rely on mobile exclusively because it is what they can afford),

Digital Customer Experience Values and Benefits:

  • Uses clear, concise, and consistent language and messaging across all channels,
  • Identifies and responds to key touchpoints in a stakeholder’s journey,
  • Establishes a feeling of trust by providing consistent experiences across channels to different stakeholders, and
  • Firmly focuses on the future by laying the groundwork to integrate social media and emerging technologies in later phases of the project.

I am a staunch believer and GovCX Practitioner who understands leading a human-centered design change initiative requires vision and broad oversight to bring stakeholders, products, technical processes, and communication into alignment.

Jane – Typical Government Customer:

For example, picture Jane, a retiree who needs help. She goes to one website on her phone to get information fast, but it doesn’t help. Later she visits another site on her laptop and can see it better, but finds additional information, organized in a new way, and described with a different language.

Jane doesn’t know what to do or trust, so she tries a call center looking for a person to talk to instead. The wait times are long because so many others are having the same problems. When she finally gets through, the call center staff wants to help but they talk about services and options in yet another way.

Jane is distressed by her experience across siloed channels. She encounters disconnected technologies, has to translate between different language use, and finds that information is inconsistently organized or even offered to leave her frustrated and miserable. The call center staff who takes her call can hear that misery as it overflows into their conversation making the staffer’s job harder, the call longer, and both the financial and emotional costs higher for both.

Each time Jane’s journey plays out for another taxpayer or call center staffer, taxpayers lose confidence in the government agency and increase the costs of call center operations.

A single focus and oversight for government Contact Centers and the internet presence is a logical first step towards an improved Customer experience. Needed research must be conducted across channels and changes prioritized coherently across all platforms to maximize results. If the system is not treated as a whole, customer experience will continue to be fragmented and frustrating no matter how many isolated improvements are made over time.

A seamless experience requires a consistent approach to technological solutions, human needs, and organizational responses. The goal is to inspire taxpayer confidence and government efficiency by making it easy to start with a website, reach out to a call center if needed, and then complete tasks on the web when they are ready. In the future, integrating social media will increase responsiveness and better serve millennials and future generations.

A robust online database of Frequently Asked Questions can enhance customer experience based on insights from web analytics and call center topics. Web analytics and the call center knowledge management technology can be used to identify frequently accessed data, searches that come up empty, and how often users access particular information. In-depth interviews with call center personnel can shape resource allocation and better prepare them to address complex situations since the basics are covered in a searchable database.

Starting with aggregated website and call center data creates a solid foundation for human-centered research to address persistent pain points across channels then effectively design and deliver satisfying stakeholder experiences.

What if Jane went to a central website and found the basic information she needed quickly and easily? If she still wasn’t sure what to do in her situation, she could reach out to a call center. When she did, her wait time would be shorter since more people were finding what they needed on a streamlined easily searchable site that highlights frequently asked questions. Jane wouldn’t be so upset when she connected with a staff member, her questions could be answered more quickly, costs would go down, and Jane would regain confidence in the government agency. Later when it worked for her schedule, she could fill out any required forms on the website and get immediate confirmation that they were submitted. Now when Jane talks about the government agency she shares her experience. I get help when I need it, I get things done on my schedule, and I trust that the government agency has my back.

Conclusion

Integrating processes, products, services, and content in an organization like a government agency takes time, vision, and leadership. Consolidating oversight with the right vision offers the best possible chance to successfully transition the taxpayers to a coherent seamless experience.

About me: I am a pioneer in the field of Government Customer Experience Management and have devoted an entire career to bettering the lives of everyone around me through my work. I am right at home as the CEO of GovCX Professionals where I am able to spend all my time focusing on establishing government and their partners with a building a welcoming, innovative, and engaging government customer service experience.

Wow! Rosetta Carrington Lue successfully launched 24/7 White House VA Hotline project

I am proud to have been appointed by the Veterans Administration Secretary to successfully lead the project implementation team to launch the VA’s first non-clinical, non-emergency 24/7 White House VA Contact Center Hotline!

VA announced that the White House VA Hotline, first launched in June as part of President Donald J. Trump’s commitment to reforming VA, is now fully staffed with live agents working to serve Veterans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The hotline, which became 24-hour operational in mid-October, is staffed by a team consisting of more than 90 percent Veterans or a family member of a Veteran. The hotline staffing is in direct response to Veterans’ requests to talk to agents who could relate to their experiences.

“The White House VA Hotline provides our nation’s Veterans with a direct, dedicated contact line that allows them to interact with highly trained, live agents to answer their needs and concerns,” said VA secretary David J. Shulkin.

“Since the initial launch of the hotline in June, we listened to our Veterans, who indicated that they prefer speaking with other Veterans and Veteran family members, and we adjusted our hiring based on that feedback,” added Shulkin.

“We’re proud that the hotline is now staffed 24/7 by a team of mostly Veterans or Veteran family members who have direct knowledge of their particular concerns and can use their experience to address them in the best way possible with the resources of the VA.  This represents a true win-win for Veterans and their loved ones.”

Since 24/7 coverage began in October, the hotline has served more than 10,000 callers.

Hotline agents answer inquiries, provide directory assistance, document concerns about VA care, benefits and services, and expedite the referral and resolution of those concerns. Agents undergo regular updates and training on VA services based on hotline trends and are assisted by newly implemented tracking software to help VA capture and improve its response, referral and resolution processes to best support Veterans.

The hotline can be accessed at 855-948-2311 and is VA’s first non-clinical, non-emergency around-the-clock call center. It provides Veterans a supplemental option to report issues if they are not being addressed through VA’s normal customer service channels.

The hotline’s agents are located at a VA facility in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Agents have access to a multitude of resources and contact information to help Veterans. The hotline also generates real-time reports to VA experts who can help address the specific issues of Veterans as well as make better-informed decisions on where program improvements are needed.

Why You Should Celebrate 2016 National Customer Service Week Oct 3rd – 9th!

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In the words of Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin, “Well done is better than well said.” The idea of customer service is often reserved to describe interaction with stores, restaurants, and other organizations in the private sector. Rarely do we hear people say “Wow, I had a great experience dealing with the staff at any government agency!” Fortunately, those outside of government might be surprised at how seriously excellence in service delivery is taken in the public sector.

Let’s take a look at national Customer Service Week which was created by 1992 by the President of the United States, citing the value of service excellence in a free market economy.

The President’s proclamation said:

A business will do a better job of providing high-quality goods and services by listening to its employees and by empowering them with opportunities to make a difference. Customer service professionals work in the front lines where a firm meets its customers; where supply meets demand. With responsive policies and procedures and with simple courtesy, customer service professionals can go a long way toward ensuring customer satisfaction and eliciting the next round of orders and purchases. The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 166, has designated the week of October 4 through October 10, 1992, as “National Customer Service Week” and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this week.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week of October 4 through October 10, 1992, and the first week of October in subsequent years, as National Customer Service Week. I invite all Americans to observe this week with appropriate programs and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventeenth.

George H. Bush

Across the country, including the federal government agencies, there is a movement to improve the delivery of information and service to those in need.

During the first week of October 2016, they are making Benjamin Franklin proud by not just talking about customer service but actually doing something (many things actually) to make sure our customers are properly “served.”

Using Lean Management & Human-centered Design to Improve Government Customer Experience

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Lean Management is a customer-centric methodology used to improve the current business process by using the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control) technique. Following the DMAIC blueprint will provide organizations insight into what the actual root cause problem is by measuring and analyzing various data sets, and developing process flow maps to understand the “as is” state.

• Define: Understanding the problem through the outputs of the human-centered design research

• Measure: Measure data pulled from the contact centers

• Analyze: Analyze and determine the cause(s) of the defects (understanding the waste).

• Improve: Improve the process by eliminating defects (unnecessary steps, decreased wait times, and shorter scripts)

• Control: Control future process performance (governance through new policies and procedures)

The lean approach focuses on increasing taxpayer value by improving the processes associated with delivering high customer value. Using the problems defined through the human center design research will point government in the right direction to which processes it needs to begin to hone it on. The problems government thinks are pertinent, may not be relevant in the eyes of the taxpayer. The contact center, being one of the first touch points for a taxpayer, can be reengineered to run more effectively and efficiently by making the internal workflow of calls leaner. The “as is” process map is the starting point to improving services because it visualizes the current process allowing for a clear picture of evident breakdowns in the process.

Defining the problem with the contact center and understanding the process is one piece to the puzzle, the ability to measure, analyze and improve based on the data collected is a critical component to developing sustainable, scalable solutions. Analyzing the various data sets will allow designers to identify areas of waste in the process, ultimately improving the experience of the taxpayer while simultaneously decreasing internal costs for government. Often than not, the government will tack on more employees and additional resources to a problem that can be easily solved by redesigning the process to work more efficiently. The desired outcome is to develop a solution that will be sustainable for government and taxpayers in the future and not a stop-gap solution for today.

Improving how calls are routed, improving the verbiage in the scripts, shortening wait times, and upgrading data collection platforms are all interlocked in improving the taxpayer’s experience when interacting with the contact centers. The one common denominator for all this to be successful is data. Data will allow leadership to understand the pain points in the process and begin to take a proactive approach in improving the taxpayer’s experience. Lean methodologies break down each component of the process to ensure the internal value stream is being utilized effectively to increase customer satisfaction. Human center design thinking is instrumental in providing lean management with accurate taxpayer problems to lay the framework for business process improvements across all facets of the contact center.

Implement A Government Pilot Program to Assess Customer Experience

For victorious execution of a new technology, implementation must be extensive throughout your organization. This is where government technology pilot program comes into action. Government Pilot programs present the facility to crush new technology in small numbers, allowing you to botch out processes before comprehensive execution.

Pilot Programs will function as follows:

They will establish program goals, as well as processes for collecting feedback. The feedback assessment will help you make out potential doubts or qualms, in turn providing you the opportunity to alleviate them. Participants of a feedback should be made to feel that opinions positive and negative, both are equally welcomed.

Government pilot button will assess the feedback before the program begins and after it has concluded. These assessments, on comparison against each other, will show how each participant felt about:

Productivity
Processes and procedures
Internal and external communication
Business organization
Effortlessness of the job
General Work Impact

Feedback forms will be adapted with the organization’s objectives for the technology in mind.

Face to face discussions and focus groups are important when you are in search of blunt, honest dialogue. Government pilot assessment will rule this strategy, it differs from self-assessment forms as in that discussions provide the opportunity to dive deeper into respondents’ answers and discuss changes on a personal level.

Individual and small-group meetings communicate to participants that feedback is valued, important and worth your time. This in itself can hearten participants to supply straightforward responses, giving you an unfiltered viewpoint on the technology.

Gathering precise feedback from a technology pilot program enables the government to achieve more extensive shore up for execution. It can also aid to identify areas of concern that need addressed prior to large-scale rollout.

Rosetta Carrington Lue is the City of Philadelphia first Chief Customer Officer. She is a dynamic leader in the fields of Customer Experience Management, Strategy and Technology, Social Media and Community Engagement in both public and private sectors.

Say What? Government is Driving Towards Customer-Focused Initiatives

In the present times because of being well aware and well educated the public expectations are at their peak, and in contrast to this their trust in government is truly diminished to its lowest level ever, so there is a dire need for the public sector to come up with more customer friendly and promising initiatives. Experienced persons, seniors, students, taxpayers, every one of the citizens possess the right to enjoy the best service from their government. Here is our forecast for how the federal government will improve customer service in the upcoming times.

In the future most of the agencies in government will head to establish a Customer Experience Office that is accountable to the Chief of the agency. Fortunately many agencies have moved forward and hired Chief Customer Officers (CCOs), and more have strong affinity to follow in their footsteps.

Moreover, digital channels are increasingly dominating as the means for public’s preferred channel for networking with government. Digital business strategies would be focused in order to improve the customer experience throughout the way.

The Administration’s major emphasis on customer service provides agencies additional inducement and prop up to update services, set performance standards, and perk up the government- customer experience.

Mobile will be the potential mean to render service anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Keeping in view the fact that people demand to access government information and services from phones, tablets, or other devices, agencies will move to accurately-designed websites, and build up more mobile apps to meet this need. In addition to this social media will go on with effectively delivering information and services.

Instead of digital channels gaining partiality with some, many people still prefer face-to-face or phone contact. Contact centers will provide incorporation between channels through healthy knowledge bases used by websites, contact center representatives, and other techniques.

Another major customer service strategic initiative is that government employees will be recognized and rewarded for delivering great customer service to the public.

What are your organizational strategies to improve customer service over the next 3-5 years?

Rosetta Carrington Lue is the City of Philadelphia first Chief Customer Officer. She is a dynamic leader in the fields of Customer Experience Management, Strategy and Technology, Social Media and Community Engagement in both public and private sectors.

The Modern Day Crossroads of the World: Dubai

Creating a Smart City must include improving the customer experience! Dubai’s customer service for the 21st Century, with mobile technology fueling seamless interactions. With this, citizens will get direct access to all government services and pay public utility bills like water, electricity and telephone through a single portal.

It’s a rare stance for a government to take. Unlike many governments, Dubai’s is breaking traditional silos and centralizing activities for ease of use.
It’s a rare stance for a government to take. Unlike many governments, Dubai’s is breaking traditional silos and centralizing activities for ease of use.

Source: The Modern Day Crossroads of the World: Dubai

8 ways Social Media has changed Customer Service

by Silky Sinha, on Tue, May 26, 2015

Social Media has completely changed the face of customer service and the way consumers interact with a brand. Instead of dialing the call center number and going through the pain of dealing with agents with little or no knowledge of their problems, customers prefer to post their issue on Facebook or Twitter that earns them immediate response and their queries are solved within a blink of an eye. Companies have nowadays started focusing on omni-channel customer service to serve their clients and potential customers on their preferred channels, hence driving effective customer engagement.

Below, I have explained 8 ways social media has changed customer service. Let’s go through them one by one.

Customer Interaction has Gone Public Now

Many Customers no longer prefer to call the customer service and have a one-to-one interaction with the representative to get their problems resolved. Instead they want to share their problems on online platforms especially social media. The companies can’t afford to hamper their brand image in public forms like these and needs to take immediate action to solve the problem which also gives them the opportunity to demonstrate how helpful and highly responsive they are. This will definitely create a positive impact on potential customers by showing that you take care of the customers at real-time and that you are very proactive.

According to a study, more than 60% of consumers have already engaged in a customer service transaction using social media. There are both challenges and opportunities for companies here.

Customers Choose their Medium of Communication

There are still many companies who don’t handle customer service on social media. This is really alarming as most of the customers are now choosing social media platforms to interact with companies. Even if the company has all the other channels for customer service, they might suffer and lose their customers to the competitors.

Customers have Plenty of Options Today

If you do not take care of your customer’s issue as soon as possible and fail to provide a good customer experience, then you are surely at a risk. Your customer will not take much time to find a viable alternative to your company. All your competitors are present on social media and social networking will lead to your customer switching to your competitor.

Customer can Make or Break a Brand’s Reputation Easily

In a matter of seconds, customers can ruin your company’s reputation by writing a complaint on your Facebook page. Reputation management has now become a core part of customer service over online mediums and companies will have to take care of it without delay as customers want immediate results now and are not willing to wait. Regular social media monitoring can help companies in managing their reputation well.
Companies can Deal with Multiple Customers at Once

Tackling customers over phone, requires a lot of time as each customer take his/her own time to describe their situation to the contact center agent. However, with the emergence of social media, customer service reps can handle multiple customers at once and can easily deal with customers facing similar issues by posting the solution on a public forum.

Companies can Leverage Social Media Influencers to Build their Brand

Connecting with social media influencers allows you to increase awareness of your brand, create brand advocates and increase online reputation. Maintaining good and lasting relationship with these influencers will provide your company with an opportunity to improve site ranking, gain more followers and eventually become a social media influencer. They can help you in many ways. By writing a good review about your product they can influence many others to purchase your company’s products. If they share a news about your company on social media, it will definitely help in improving your brand’s reputation.

Companies Can Announce Policy Changes Instantly

In the past, companies had to take out advertisements in newspapers to deliver mass messages to consumers about any change in their customer service policy. But things have changed now with social media coming to light. Company can post the changes on social media and will take seconds to spread among their clients.

Customers can Easily Help and Support Each Other

The moment you post a question or a problem or ask for advice, your friends and colleagues instantly reply after seeing the post. Even if somebody is not known to you, but has some knowledge about your problem or has himself facing the same issue, would come to your rescue and support you in reaching out to the company.

Creating a Welcoming & Connected City: 311 Youth Engagement Program

A few weeks ago I posed a challenge to my Philly311 Customer Service Programs and Engagement Strategist, Amanda V. Wagner: Create a program that encourages young people to be civically involved. Amanda leads the Philly311 Customer Service Programs and Strategies Unit which is responsible for Philly311’s customer service innovative programs and communications.

She was excited by the idea; however creating the program would be a challenge within itself. Daniel Ramos, Philly311’s Community Engagement Coordinator managed a similar program in the past with the 311 Youth Neighborhood Liaison Program. The experience that Daniel acquired during the 311 Youth Neighborhood Liaison Program would shape what recently became the Youth Engagement Program.

At the core of Philly311’s philosophy is one simple idea. Philly311 connects citizens to city services and resources, and there is a plethora of city services available to people outside of what citizens see on a daily basis. We want to educate adults about those city related services, and especially kids who could benefit most from it. I strongly believe that by being able to engage young talent early we can leave have a positive impression on our profession, help include and engage them to be part of the process to solve problems in their neighborhood and we may influence them to consider a career in government as a profession.

I am proud of one of the organizations we have partnered with on the youth program, After School Activities Partnerships (ASAP). ASAP works to serve the 45,000 kids citywide that spend an average of “20-25 hours a week alone after school between 3pm and 6pm, the most dangerous time of day for youth according to the Police Department.” Organizations like ASAP are a huge resource to citizens and meet a significant need in the community.

The Philly311 Youth Engagement Program (Y.E.P) kicks off in July for five week sessions. Y.E.P’s programming will teach a group of early middle school kids how to interact with Philly311, including a discussion on our award winning mobile app, and how to engage with community resources. Y.E.P has partnered with several City of Philadelphia affiliated youth programs to provide a well-rounded roster of opportunities. Under the supervision of Amanda V. Wagner, and Director of Communications for Philly311, Gabriela Raczka, the program has created long lasting alliances with our community partners.

I am grateful for a great Philly311 team that shares my passion for government customer service, and I’m looking forward to the feedback we’ll receive and the impact the program will create for the children of Philadelphia.

Rosetta Carrington Lue is the City of Philadelphia first Chief Customer Service Officer. She is a dynamic leader in the fields of Customer Experience, Contact Center Operations, Social Media, and Community Engagement management in both public and private sectors.