Today’s post is part 2 of our 3 part series on OMB’s new guidance to federal agencies on managing customer experience and service delivery. See part one here.

OMB Circular A-11 Section 280 includes new guidelines and requirements for High-Impact Service Provider Agencies of the federal government to embed tactics, strategies, and the principles of customer experience as a management discipline into their respective cultures, as a regular course of doing business. Public reporting of agencies’ customer data starts in 2019.

What Are the Expectations of Section 280?

There are a number of core functions called for within the guidance. It is very clear that Section 280 isn’t about simply conducting a customer survey or filing a report and calling it a day. But surveys do get a lot of airtime in Section 280. Given the timeline for compliance, user-friendly customer surveys could be a good place to focus your initial time and effort in ramping up for compliance.

Here are additional guidelines and requirements from Section 280:

  • What questions should you ask in customer surveys? Section 280 lists several questions to get you started, including two mandatory questions and six others you can alter, minimally. In certain situations you can and should consider asking additional questions, particularly pertaining to customer outcomes. If you’re using the Qualtrics survey platform, scan our library of questions vetted by PhD-level CX researchers for additional possibilities that may make sense for your survey.
  • When should you survey customers? Identify high-impact or high-volume customer transactions. Attach a survey to those transactions. OMB also encourages annual, overarching surveys where you can get a general picture of customers’ experiences with your agency. That means, on a tactical level, surveys and other customer measurements could be administered at the program and agency level.
  • Who should know the results? The general public is your ultimate target audience for communicating results. Agencies will submit customer data to OMB in the form of a dashboard, which eventually appears on performance.gov. Sample data dashboards are available through Max.gov, a password-protected online community for government executives that contains a sub-community for customer experience professionals.

 Surveys and survey results aren’t the only thing you’ll need to work on and produce. Here are two other to-dos you’ll need to plan for.

  • Conduct an annual CX self-assessment. Use the sample assessment on performance.gov as a starting point.
  • Create a CX action plan. The CX action plan should be published as part of your agency’s overall performance report, which eventually becomes part of Performance.gov.

It is quite clear that agencies will need formal and informal teams to do the work of section 280. One person alone will not be able to do all the work of Section 280 alone. In our next post in this series, we’ll share with you idea-starters on how to pull together resources and talent for a team approach to comply. If you missed our last post on OMB Circular A-11 Section 280 basics, you can access that here.

Reach out to the Federal team at Qualtrics for information and insights. Keep watching Qualtrics’ website for information on upcoming training on the concepts and principles of customer experience as a business discipline. We’re here to help!

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Author Bio: Stephanie Thum is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) and Chief Advisor for Federal Customer Experience at Qualtrics. In a past life, Stephanie was the head of CX for a federal government agency where she built a CX program that included customer surveys, executive councils, employee engagement, and data governance practices. She was also responsible for coordinating her agency’s public-facing annual performance plan and report, based on OMB Circular A-11. She is formally trained in strategic planning for government organizations and in planning, budgeting, and performance reporting for government organizations.