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About Us / Strategic Plan / Goal 3: Create a human-centered customer experience

Goal 3: Create a human-centered customer experience

Create a human-centered customer experience by putting the needs of OPM's customers at the center of OPM's workforce services, policy, and oversight, increasing OPM’s customer satisfaction index score for targeted services to 4.3 out of 5

Overview

There is a growing understanding among stakeholders internal and external to the agency that OPM should reconceptualize the way in which it interacts with its customers. By nature of its diverse set of responsibilities in the federal space, OPM serves many different customers, including federal job applicants, federal employees, and federal retirees, across a wide number of touchpoints. In Circular A-11, OMB notes the importance of accounting for and actively seeking improvements to these touchpoints that shape the customer experience of those who interact with federal agencies. According to OMB, these interactions are particularly important because they “drive the overall satisfaction and confidence/trust with the program, agency, and the government at large.” For its part, OMB has identified OPM’s USAJOBS and Retirement Services as two of the federal government’s 35 High-Impact Service Providers. By leveraging human-centered customer experience practices, OPM has the opportunity to improve the experiences of customers in their interactions with OPM’s policies, programs, and services.

Enhance the Retirement Services customer experience by providing timely, accurate, and responsive service that addresses the diverse needs of OPM’s customers. By FY 2026, improve the customer satisfaction score to 4.2 out of 5.

Overview

OPM serves nearly 2.7 million annuitants, survivors, and family members, and OPM’s retirement function is one of 25 high impact service providers across the federal government. The agency processes more than 100,000 new claims each year while also managing any changes to federal retirement accounts. Further, OPM’s Retirement Services answers approximately 1.8 million phone calls each year.

GAO and independent third-party consultants have identified challenges with retirement services, including legacy contact center infrastructure and technology not equipped to handle the volume of calls and inquires received, the need to fund and modernize legacy systems to move from paper-based applications and manual case processing to electronic systems, insufficient staff capacity, and incomplete retirement applications from agencies.[13] These factors have contributed to customers receiving busy signals, longer call wait times, and delays in case processing. In FY 2020, OPM conducted six months of retirement customer and user experience research. Through interviews of federal retirees, OPM employees, federal agency HR officers, and federal payroll providers, the research identified bright spots and confirmed pain points in the federal retirement process, reinforced the need to modernize services, and provided recommendations for service-delivery enhancements and digital solutions to improve the customer experience. In 2021, OPM implemented a scalable, flexible, cloud-based call center solution that eliminates busy signals, communicates wait times, allows callers to request a return call, and provides meaningful analytics – enabling OPM to deliver higher levels of customer service. In Q4 FY 2021, the Retirement Services customer satisfaction score was 3.75 out of 5.

Strategies

  • Improve customer service delivery of Retirement Services personnel through training and continuous development
  • Develop and upgrade user interfaces, modernize system components, and enhance data integration of Retirement Services systems to improve customer service
  • Increase Agency Benefits Officers’ knowledge through training and collaboration for a seamless transition from their agency to OPM
  • Strengthen customer engagement with annuitants to enhance the customer experience

Performance Measures

  • Average satisfaction score for services received from Retirement Services
  • Average number of minutes to answer phone calls
  • Average number of days to process retirement cases

Contributing Organizations

  • RS, OCIO, and OPO

Associated Learning Agenda Questions

  • Question 11. To what extent are OPM’s High Impact Service Providers meeting customer needs? What strategies are effective for improving customer service and satisfaction?

Create a personalized USAJOBS experience to help applicants find relevant opportunities. By FY 2026, improve applicant satisfaction to 4.1 out of 5 for the desktop platform and to 4.5 out of 5 for the mobile platform.

Overview

OPM’s USAJOBS – the federal government’s official employment site and source for federal job announcements – is one of 25 high impact service providers across the federal government and serves as the “front door” to the federal hiring process for over 500 federal organizations. Although USAJOBS represents a slice of the overall hiring process, its reach is expansive: In FY 2019, agencies posted more than 300,000 job announcements and more than 17 million applicants used the USAJOBS platform.

USAJOBS conducts user research and agency engagement sessions, customer experience surveys, and routinely monitors help desk requests to analyze and synthesize feedback and generate insights to improve the USAJOBS user experience. Through these feedback collection mechanisms, applicants have expressed frustration over the lack of transparency in the federal hiring process as well as confusion over the jobs for which they are eligible and qualified. In Q4 FY 2021, applicant satisfaction was 3.88 out of 5 for the desktop platform and 4.19 out of 5 for the mobile platform. Likewise, agencies have expressed challenges in utilizing the system to identify the best candidates, especially when there are large applicant pools, and the lack of data to make informed hiring decisions. To address customer needs, USAJOBS has committed to improving the customer experience for applicants and agency stakeholders.

Strategies

  • Conduct end-to-end user research on the applicant experience to drive development priorities and make USAJOBS refinements to improve satisfaction
  • Increase stakeholder access to USAJOBS data to drive improvements to the federal hiring process
  • Collaborate with GSA’s login.gov team to improve the USAJOBS authentication experience
  • Implement USAJOBS IT modernization efforts to leverage technology and process advancements
  • Improve USAJOBS Voice of Customer sourcing and support mechanisms

Performance Measures

  • Average overall satisfaction score with USAJOBS
  • Average trust score
  • Average effectiveness score
  • Average ease score
  • Average efficiency score
  • Average transparency score
  • Average website helpfulness score

Contributing Organizations

  • HRS, OCIO, and ES

Associated Learning Agenda Questions

  • Question 11. To what extent are OPM’s High Impact Service Providers meeting customer needs? What strategies are effective for improving customer service and satisfaction?

Create a seamless customer and intermediary experience across OPM’s policy, service, and oversight functions. By FY 2026, increase the average score for helpfulness of OPM human capital services in achieving human capital objectives to 4.5 out of 5.

Overview

To meet the needs and expectations of OPM’s diverse set of customers, offices across the agency must often work together to provide aligned policy, services, and oversight functions. According to some stakeholders both internal and external to the agency, OPM is challenged by the siloed nature of some of its operations, which leads at times to a disjointed experience for many customers and intermediaries who must interact with disparate parts of the agency that are perceived to be not always in sync with one another. In the second half of FY 2021, the average score for helpfulness of OPM human capital services in achieving human capital objectives was 4.31 out of 5. To break down such silos and advance holistic cross-agency efforts to serve agency customers, NAPA recommends that OPM adopt an integrated management framework as well as an integrated, strategic systems thinking approach.[14]

Strategies

  • Establish a customer experience infrastructure with the organizational power to coordinate agency efforts to create consistent, shared language, goals, and measures around customer experience, with the influence to require adherence
  • Promote collaboration across programs when developing and issuing policy and providing guidance and services to agencies in a timely fashion
  • Review and modify oversight evaluation methodology to incorporate strategic, data-driven, and performance-oriented evaluations that focus on government-wide, systemic issues
  • Create blended interpretation, technical assistance, consulting, learning, and oversight product and service offerings to meet agency needs across the talent lifecycle
  • Deliver strategic support and guidance to agencies that are part of an expected, comprehensive catalog of services OPM typically provides

Performance Measure

  • Average score for helpfulness of OPM human capital services in achieving human capital objectives

Contributing Organizations

  • ES, HRS, MSAC, HCDMM, and OCIO

Transform the OPM website to a user-centric and user-friendly website. By FY 2026, achieve an average effectiveness score of 4 out of 5.

Overview

In interviews, multiple external stakeholders cited the need for OPM to develop a more user-friendly website so that agency partners and other customers could better leverage the wealth of information that OPM houses online. Likewise, NAPA advises that OPM revamp its website with a customer-centric focus while the GAO (19-35) has encouraged OPM to update resources and guidance more regularly for its various stakeholders across government.[15] [16] In 2018, the Congress passed the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act to improve the digital experience of those served by federal agencies by outlining new requirements and reinforcing existing ones for federal public websites.

OPM recognizes that its main website OPM.gov does not always meet the needs and expectations of many of the customers that the agency serves and has an opportunity to transform it to a user-centric and user-friendly site. In FY 2022, OPM will implement survey items to measure and track user perceptions of the website’s effectiveness. The target score of 4 represents agreement that the website helped users achieve their needs.

Strategies

  • Strengthen customer engagement with OPM stakeholders during design, requirements development, and testing to improve system quality and adoption
  • Create an OPM Digital Governance Board to advance the creation, maintenance, and update of digital tools across the agency
  • Increase employee education on human-centered design principles, plain language, privacy, and accessibility to facilitate the creation of clear and consistent website program content and digital tools
  • Use human-centered design principles to create a site that is designed for external customers (rather than for OPM program offices), helps customers efficiently obtain the information they need, and creates opportunities for feedback
  • Migrate to a cloud hosted OPM.gov platform to allow for elasticity as demand increases or decreases, delivering a positive customer experience during peak usage
  • Implement a modern content management platform to update and maintain the content on OPM.gov more easily
  • Establish a unified approach to the development and maintenance of web content

Performance Measures

  • Average effectiveness score
  • Average ease score

Contributing Organizations

  • OCIO, OESPIM, HI, OCFO, and OC

Footnote 13

Government Accountability Office. (2018). Federal Retirement: OPM Actions Needed to Improve Application Processing Times (GAO-19-217). Washington, DC.

Footnote 14

National Academy of Public Administration. March 2021. Elevating Human Capital: Reframing the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Leadership Imperative.

Footnote 15

National Academy of Public Administration. March 2021. Elevating Human Capital: Reframing the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Leadership Imperative.

Footnote 16

Government Accountability Office. (2018). Federal Workforce: Opportunities Exist for OPM to Further Innovation in Performance Management (GAO-19-35). Washington, DC.