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The Future of Federal Financial Management

Transformation Stories

How Treasury Dramatically Improved Customer Satisfaction Using Data Insights

Treasury's Bureau of the Fiscal Service's Customer Satisfaction Survey is underway. So far, the number of participants has already exceeded last years. That's good news, because the data collected has proven to result in meaningful federal agency improvements.

"We study national customer trends by analyzing data from all angles, from a quantitative and qualitative point of view. We find areas that need enterprise-wide improvement. From there, we work across federal programs to address organizational weak spots," said April Battle, Director of National Agency Outreach. "There is always room for improvement -- the data shows us exactly where we should focus."

Overall, customer satisfaction levels have risen about 50% since the survey was redesigned and refined over the past decade.

Major Wins

Last year, Treasury's Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s annual Customer Satisfaction Survey showed significant gains. Participation increased by almost 50% from the previous year. Customer satisfaction levels were up, from 83% in 2018 to 93%, with executive satisfaction rising from 90% to 96%.

What caused the boost? Listening to customers, understanding their pain points, and addressing them, says Ms. Battle.

An Appetite for Training

"Our 2018 survey showed that we had room to improve in training," Ms. Battle said. "There was and is an enormous appetite for more quality training in the federal financial management space. In 2019, training became an enterprise-wide focus."

In the 2019 survey, most business services saw double digit increases in training satisfaction. Do Not Pay (DNP), a robust federal analytical tool, saw a dramatic boost. More than 92% of respondents expressed satisfaction in training, a jump from the previous year’s score of 34.7%.

DNP's winning approach was to spotlight training presentations and how-to-videos on the DNP website. DNP also provided step-by-step guidance on how to complete different functions in the DNP portal.

And the COVID-19 pandemic showed a silver lining in the training arena. Each year, Treasury holds the Government Financial Management Conference in Washington, DC. Thousands attend this event for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits. This year, Fiscal Service created GFMCLiveSM, an online version of the event that allowed participants to attend without leaving their homes. An application for accreditation is being reviewed to allow future GFMCLiveSM participants to get CPEs online.

Last year's GFMC in Washington, DC. This year brought GFMCLiveSM online. Efforts are underway to allow participants to earn CPE credits in future online events.

Using Feedback to Improve Issue Resolution

Training wasn't the only area that improved in terms of customer satisfaction in 2019. Issue resolution satisfaction also improved.

For example, Treasury's Administration Resource Center (ARC)'s Financial Management (FM) level of satisfaction rose 13%, up to 93.1% in 2019. ARC's FM ensured that staffing was available to answer customer calls in less than eight seconds. ARC created a survey tool that provided timely customer feedback and continued to make incremental improvements. The team increased vigilance in tracking resolution from the time a ticket opened until it closed, so issues are addressed in a timely manner.

Understanding Customers' Needs

The government's Invoice Payment Platform (IPP) also saw a boost in customer satisfaction by making more resources available to help IPP users understand and use the online invoice processing system. IPP provided fresh content to its website each month and rewrote user documentation and user acceptance planning guides. It held regular customer check-in calls with agency users. Satisfaction levels rose from 59.7% in 2018 to 88.71% in 2019.

"Listening to the voice of the customer and responding to their needs results in improved satisfaction. Sometimes you can transform the customer experience by simply rewriting a guide or providing targeted training. This can make an enormous difference to our customers," said Ms. Battle.

Aligning Customer Satisfaction Enterprise-wide

"When we analyze the survey results, we're looking at ways to align improvements in customer satisfaction with the Fiscal Service’s strategic goals," Ms. Battle said. "We listen, learn, make changes, and reassess progress. By moving towards a united customer measurement approach, we have a better way of seeing the big picture. Our data has helped shape the latest strategic plan and set clear goals that support the future of federal financial management."

Fiscal Service Director of National Agency Outreach April Battle, left, at Forrester CXDC.

In addition to the survey, Commissioner Tim Gribben reaches out directly to Chief Financial Officers (CFO) across federal agencies to better understand what’s working and what isn’t for agency CFOs and Deputy CFOs. "We reach out to analyze and align business data at every level," said Ms. Battle.

Executive satisfaction is at an all-time high.

More than 95.5% of executives who participated in the 2019 survey either strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that the Fiscal Service:

89.0%  Clearly communicates future vision

88.4%  Trust Bureau’s ability to support modernization

87.6%  Understands the Bureau's core services

87.5%  Bureau understands my agency

87.0%  Bureau delivers value to help agency’s modernization

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Last modified 11/02/20