If a bipartisan group of congresspeople succeeds, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will increase both the oversight and visibility of US government efforts to improve customer experience (CX). Two new bills — one in the House and one in the Senate — propose that the OMB offer oversight and establish standards and reporting methods to ensure continued improvement of federal CX. If this legislation is enacted, it would represent an expansion of work already underway as part of the President’s Management Agenda priority related to delivering excellent, equitable, and secure federal services and customer experience.
Here’s what’s promising about this pending legislation:
- Each chamber proposes a vision for the OMB’s potential new mandate. The Senate bill places responsibility for governmentwide CX management squarely on the OMB director. Responsibilities include tasking agencies to develop annual CX action plans that outline aspects such as CX strategies; actions that demonstrate adoption of human-centered design; operational metrics and improvement plans related to them; and opportunities to improve cross-agency journeys. The House bill instead charges the OMB director with creating or tasking a senior-level role with “primary responsibility … to lead and coordinate the improvement of delivering government services to the public.”
- Both bills have bipartisan sponsorship. That’s a recognition that good federal CX is good politics for everyone. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle acknowledge that federal service delivery should be designed, managed, and measured with customers in mind and urge the OMB to move quickly and adopt lessons from the private sector.
It’s unlikely, however, that these bills will ever become law:
- CX legislation is a low priority. The House and its newly minted speaker must work through a backlog of urgent legislation that couldn’t advance while the speakership was vacant. And there are plenty of items on the urgent list for both chambers of Congress. The tip of the iceberg? Time is running out to pass a budget bill or new continuing resolution to fund the federal government’s operations, and bills related to the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel/Gaza require immediate congressional attention.
- The House bill may be dead on arrival. The House version proposes a new senior-level role to direct the OMB’s CX management efforts. The Republican-controlled House — and its new fiscally conservative speaker — may choose not to entertain any legislation that adds to the federal org chart. What’s more, continued bad blood from the weeks-long speakership debacle could stymie even bipartisan efforts to find common ground on the House bill.
- The contents of the bills are not the same. Both chambers of Congress must pass identical bills before the legislation can go to the president. Since the House and Senate bills differ in how they assign reporting and leadership responsibilities, the two chambers will have to resolve their differences before the legislation can move ahead. But this isn’t insurmountable: The sponsors have telegraphed similar interest in improving government CX, so much of the potential reconciliation effort will center on the mechanics of the bills.
So where do we go from here? While we await the outcome of this legislative push, we urge government organizations (of any country and at any level) to improve their understanding of the current customer experience and key customer journeys; to baseline what is; and to work to measure, orchestrate, and manage what could be. Forrester clients can start on this path now by watching the replay of Colleen’s webinar unveiling the 2023 US federal Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) results and/or by reaching out for a guidance session or inquiry with either of us.