Services and Transactions

Make it okay for Fed workers to interact with citizens

Right now, it's not allowed for workers to directly respond to citizens. With a little training, it'd be safe (enough?) for workers to do so, and that'd greatly improve customer service.

Here's a great article regarding this at the Dept of Veterans Affairs:

(I feel this also applies to private industry.)


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  1. The idea was posted


  1. Comment

    Depends on the agency.

  2. Comment
    Jean Fox

    Some agencies already allow this.

    However, the article cited talks about employees using social media to communicate with citizens. I think that agencies might be much more open to allowing employees to use traditional communication vehicles (voice and email) compared to social media. In theory, it shouldn't matter, but I think agencies perceive a big difference.

  3. Comment
    Candi Harrison

    It does depend on the agency, but - in general - I think you're right that many govt employees feel they can't talk to the public. This is part of the whole culture change we've got to push, if we're going to create a real customer service mentality in government. I think we can train employees so that any employee can at least do an intake conversation and help customers get pointed in the right direction.

  4. Comment
    craig ( Idea Submitter )

    yup, there's that culture change thing again!

  5. Comment
    Gwynne Kostin

    I'll even up the ante! I think that government employees should be ENCOURAGED to talk to citizens. Have you ever used the text service ChaCha? You text a question to ChaCha and you get an answer texted back really quick. How do they do it? Distributed agents. So what if 1/3 of the government employees spent 1 hour a month answering questions? That would be 740K hours of direct customer service EVERY MONTH without an addition of staffing.