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Executive Order: Government Has Customer Service Problem

Image: Anton Gvozdikov

The federal government has a customer service problem, President Barack Obama wrote in a newly released executive order.

“The public deserves competent, efficient, and responsive service from the federal government,” the president wrote. But too often the government and its agencies are hampered by inadequate citizen-facing services, such as agency websites.

The order directs agencies to implement an online customer-service plan to overhaul their online customer service over the next six months.

The government must get better at customer service, a number of administration officials have said, especially as many of its functions are being done online.

For example, the IRS received 70 percent of all tax returns filed this year online, which is cheaper for the government to process and more convenient for citizens — or customers, rather.

“Just like large corporations, the government processes countless transactions,” said Jeffrey Zients, the federal chief performance officer and deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, according to Federal News Radio. “But too few agencies have effectively modernized their customer interactions so the public still accesses most government services by standing in line, waiting on hold and filling paper-based forms. As a result, too often, we are 0-for-2 costs are too high and customer service lags behind.”

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