Representatives Loudermilk (GA) and Connolly (VA) recently introduced the Government Customer Service Accountability and Improvement Act of 2018, H.R. 5402, which would require the establishment of customer service standards at federal agencies and encourage agencies to measure the public’s experience and interaction with agencies.
The bill would also require the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to select certain agencies to assist in the development of customer experience standards and agency performance plans. Under the bill, the senior management official for customer experience in each agency would have six months to develop customer experience standards and agency performance plans that are based on customer and market-based research and that include voluntary feedback from the public.
For agencies who fail to meet their standards a year following adoption, the OMB Director is to detail employees within the agency who have the expertise and skills required to address service goals. OMB would work with these agencies to help them improve and modernize service delivery, including evaluating agency efforts, developing a plan with short- and long-term goals, monitoring the implementation of that plan, and submitting a progress report every six months. Two years after the start of the program and annually thereafter, the OMB Director is to submit a report to Congress on the accomplishments and outcomes of the program across all agencies where it has been implemented and recommendations for changes, including an evaluation of the difficulties and lack of quality customer experience still prevalent. The Administrator of the General Services Administration is also to provide administrative and other assistance to these programs, including two staff members with expertise in change management, process improvement, etc. Under the bill, Congress would need to consider continuation or termination of this program after five years.
Recognizing the important customer service role performed by many frontline employees, NTEU is reminding Congress of the need for adequate funding and staffing for agencies to be able to provide quality customer service. Further, NTEU is monitoring this legislation closely to ensure that new or revised agency customer service standards and performance plans do not lead to a push to eliminate or overhaul employee due process rights and performance management systems. And, further that a lack of agency funding or management’s poor customer service strategy do not equate to an individual receiving a low performance rating.