The White House’s budget proposal for fiscal-year 2024 includes more than $500 million in customer-experience (CX)-related investments to continue progress on the administration’s robust CX goals. Predictably, this hasn’t made headlines: It’s just .007% of the total $6.9 trillion budget proposal and doesn’t excite fiery debates like higher-profile requests do. It’s a strong investment, however, for the vital work of improving people’s interactions with their federal government. We’re especially pleased that the White House seeks funding to:
- Strengthen CX expertise. The budget aims to build CX capacity across agencies by hiring 120 new employees with CX and digital product delivery experience. This is essential because you can’t buy a box of CX. Improving experiences takes skilled work (client access only) to create and execute evidence-based plans, design and iterate new experiences, and track performance.
- Continue emphasis on life experiences. This provides a foundation for a cross-agency, journey-centric approach (client access only) that accounts for the reality of how people interact with federal agencies — especially during important moments in their lives such as having a child or approaching retirement.
- Provide support for test-and-learn approaches. Iterative approaches aren’t traditional in government, although this best practice has gained some traction in recent years. The new cycle of test-and-learn CX initiatives led to a recent online passport renewal pilot program and include, for example, a new pilot at the Transportation Security Administration to improve experiences at four airports.
- Focus on equity and inclusion. This includes investments in shared products, services, and standards, such as the United States Web Design System. Design systems (client access only) are a critical tool for powering accessible, inclusive, and equitable experiences; they help scale the application of best practices, accessible components, and plain language guidelines across agencies. Supporting the General Services Administration’s implementation of these standards is key to delivering on the administration’s commitments to advancing equity and promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
The White House’s CX budget proposals will undergo changes as budget negotiations continue. To help ensure that the final CX budget does the most good for US federal CX, we offer four pieces of advice:
- Hire for range of CX skills. Our research (client access only) shows that CX teams rarely include vital “accelerant” skills — such as journey mapping, journey analytics, journey management, and storytelling — that help them understand, improve, and manage the experience. CX teams without these skills will remain stuck on basic find-and-fix work, unable to help their organizations innovate to fulfill the administration’s CX goals.
- Standardize a more advanced approach to CX insights. Ensure that agencies go beyond surveys (client access only) to employ modern methods of collecting customer insights — such as mining unsolicited feedback from contact centers — and integrate them with operational data. This will ensure that agencies have the best evidence to prioritize projects, understand ROI, and iterate experience designs.
- Avoid the “insights to action” gap. Put as much emphasis on systems that integrate customer insights into decision-making as you do on collecting customer feedback. Deepen the commitment to cross-agency journey teams and CX governance councils (client access only) to coordinate and prioritize both listening and action.
- Focus employee experience (EX) improvements where they’ll also help CX. The most recent Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) shows that federal EX lags on key factors that our research (client access only) shows help employees become more customer-focused. For example, only about 52% of federal employees agree with FEVS items related to innovation and flexibility (questions 26, 30, and 63).
Stay tuned for updates as the budget negotations progress — or reach out to us to discuss your own investments in CX!