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Digital Transformation Takes Time

Program Leaders Can Begin Change Management Work Now

The Biden Administration’s new mandate to improve customer experience with government digital services — outlined in a new memo, “Delivering a Digital-First Public Experience” — lays out an ambitious 5-year plan for agencies to improve customer experience and service delivery, which will lead to better outcomes for the public and the government.

But without clear, consistent communication with stakeholders — including constituents externally and agency employees internally — those efforts will rot away in obscurity.

While more digital channels can provide greater access to government services, it does not necessarily equate to a better customer experience. In fact, if the change to digital channels creates even more confusion, it can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction among those most in need of the services. It is essential for government agencies to focus on change management and ensure that the transition to digital channels is seamless and user-friendly. By doing so, agencies can improve customer experience and increase adoption of digital services.

To be successful, agencies need to start communicating about these digital transformations now. The memo acknowledges the importance of maintaining strong, consistent, agency-branded communications for cultivating trust with users interacting through digital channels, such as when it comes to privacy concerns.

“Clear communications and transparency with the public are critical … whether internal to the agency, when agency officials communicate early and often about privacy considerations, or external to the agency, when its websites inform the public about how it handles PII,” or personally identifiable information, the memo states.

But with its focus on core tenets of CX, the memo neglects to offer hard guidance on ensuring buy-in from the employees who will be doing the work, as well as the people who will benefit from these improved government services.

Here are a few things federal leaders should consider as they develop their CX improvement plans:

Organizational Culture: Organizational culture can significantly impact an agency’s ability to change, and it is essential to address cultural barriers to ensure successful implementation of the guidance. Program leaders should begin crafting internal messaging strategies to properly engage the workforce.

Change Management Strategies: While the guidance provides a framework for improving customer experience and service delivery, agencies will need to develop their own change management strategies to implement the guidance effectively.

Training and Development: To ensure successful implementation of the guidance, agencies will need to invest in training and development programs to help employees acquire the skills and knowledge needed to deliver a digital-first public experience.

Leadership and Governance: Effective leadership and governance are critical to driving change in the public sector, and agencies will need to ensure that they have the right leadership and governance structures in place to support the implementation of the guidance.

Overall, while the memo provides valuable guidance for improving digital communication in the public sector, change management must be a priority focus for program leaders. Agencies will need to address these gaps to ensure successful implementation of the guidance.