In April, President Obama issued Executive Order 13571, “Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service”, requiring agencies to create and publish customer service plans. In line with that directive, GSA recently published its own customer service plan.
As we implement our plan, I want to share some of the ways in which we at ITS are already improving customer service. As I see it, we are on an exciting ongoing journey that directly involves our customer agencies and industry partners. Making this journey as easy and fast as possible will require three things:
- a passion for delivering results and value
- a willingness to take on new perspectives, and
- frequent, open, and honest communication.
Delivering Results and Value to Customers
ITS is the federal government’s largest and most experienced IT acquisition partner. Our unique relationship with other government agencies and industry partners gives us the opportunity to create value for both our customers and for taxpayers. We work closely with most federal agencies and the best vendors in government IT, so we can share, reuse, and leverage best practices.
We help agencies identify and aggregate their shared needs, providing value that isn’t available through in-house procurement. Our partnership with GSA’s Office of Assisted Acquisition Services (AAS) means that agencies can get support across the entire acquisition lifecycle to ensure that requirements are met on time, within budget, and with reduced risk.
We also reduce acquisition risk by setting up flexible, innovative contract vehicles, and working hand-in-glove with agencies and industry to define and meet requirements. This past year we solicited direct agency and industry involvement in our new cloud offerings, future telecommunications contracts, our new IT commodity program, and USAccess (HSPD-12). This collaboration has already shown positive results, including the release of the RFQ for our upcoming FSSI Wireless program.
Adopting a Different Perspective
Sometimes the best way to move forward is to see things from a different angle. By taking on our customers’ perspective, we at GSA are able to pave the way for industry to seamlessly deliver and implement IT solutions for government. Industry then has incentives to point out where GSA can improve and to share their commercial customer service best practices.
Customers also benefit from thinking big—when your agency identifies a need for a new method or procurement process, think about how other agencies could participate in a shared solution. Come talk to us. You may be surprised at what we can do, or what we already have in the works.
Increasing and Expanding Communication
To develop this broader perspective, we’re reaching out with new ways to engage customers and industry. Our efforts dovetail with President Obama’s direction to advance customer service through innovative technology.
Over the past six months, we’ve done this in a variety of ways, such as posting draft RFIs and RFQs on the BetterBuy wiki to solicit input on our FSSI Wireless and Network Services 2020 programs. We have employed two-way communications channels, such as our Twitter account, this blog, and community websites, enhancing industry’s and customers’ access to ITS and to each other. We are also overhauling our web presence to better explain our offerings and make it easier to find information. Together, these initiatives should make our initial conversations with customers more productive and meaningful.
As we create and update these tools and channels, please use them and tell us what you think. We are asking you to give us your honest assessment before, during, and after we work together. We always want to know what we could be doing better so that we remain the government’s trusted go-to resource for all of their IT and telecommunications needs.
Let me know how we’re doing by leaving a comment here or reaching me on Twitter.