Blog and News

Building Better Customer Experience (CX)

October 05, 2021

Bixal is celebrating CX Day — a day established by the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) to recognize the accomplishments of CX (customer experience) professionals globally — by exploring what CX resources are available to our federal clients.

Bixal’s definition of CX aligns with CXPA’s, which is to say that CX is “the perception that customers have of an organization — one that is formed based on interactions across all touchpoints, people, and technology over time.” Understanding what this perception is and how it relates to each touchpoint is critical to identifying the best way to help our clients approach and improve CX.

In the private sector, where customers have options, positive CX is essential for a brand’s success because, of course, capitalism functions based on competition. In the public sector, however, the customer often does not have a choice; the institution persists regardless of its customer-satisfaction scores. For this reason, CX is more important in but perhaps less prioritized by the government.

The demand for better CX in government services is not new and, in 2018, was met with the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA). This law outlines several requirements for executive agencies, including the following:

  • All publicly available new or redesigned websites, web forms, applications, and digital services must be Section 508 compliant, consistent in appearance, easily searchable, secure, designed with CX in mind based on data analysis, and fully functional. These resources cannot duplicate legacy content and must give the user the option of a more customized experience.
  • All existing digital services must be reviewed, and an estimated cost and schedule for modernization must be submitted to Congress.

These requirements aim to improve at least the digital aspect of CX in government, but as the General Services Administration (GSA) notes: “Some agencies have mature CX practices, while others are just getting started … One of the barriers to federal programs better understanding their customers, and designing their services to meet their expectations, is a lack of knowledge of leading practices in these disciplines.” Accordingly, GSA has published a toolkit outlining a process for developing better CX practices and a buying guide that provides guidance on how agencies can successfully procure CX-support services such as those required by IDEA.

Bixal’s desire to help the federal government in this area motivates us every day. Our mission is to improve people’s lives through human-centered strategies and transformative technologies, and we work closely with our federal partners to conceive and create powerful data-driven CX for the public.

Designing CX for the Public

Over the years, we’ve worked with many federal agencies, and we’ve found the terms “customer experience” and “CX” can be misleading because of their association with the private sector’s definition, which most often centers around a transaction, money for goods or services. The value exchange between an individual and a government agency, however, is different. Of course, individuals pay taxes to the government so the government can provide services to the public. When an individual needs one of those services, however, their immediate investment is their time with the relevant agency, be it online, over the phone or in person.

Bixal’s services help our clients improve CX factors, such as those highlighted in figure 1, making the process of obtaining information or assistance easy and intuitive for the public.

"A customer experience infographic"

Figure 1. CX is impacted by factors both within and outside the government’s control.

Because CX is influenced by factors both within and outside an organization’s control, improving it requires strategy that covers everything from understanding users’ needs to developing and maintaining the information and products that meet those needs.

Bixal’s core offerings have evolved as we have learned more about what our clients’ needs are in terms of improving CX for the public. Early on, we offered services in communications, design and technology. As we have grown, so have our practices in human-centered design, data analytics and measurement, and learning and training.

We expanded our practices in human-centered design to include service design, which helps us understand the complex needs of the public and appreciate the journeys individuals go through to get those needs met; in data analytics and measurement to ensure we track and document the right data to measure improvements and inform decisions; and in learning and training, which is crucial to promoting the long-term success of our clients’ initiatives.

We currently work with GSA to maintain and expand the U.S. Web Design System (USWDS). This system promotes IDEA compliance across government agencies, providing website building blocks, a maturity model for adopting the system and additional guidance (including performance guidelines). Nearly 200 websites already use USWDS to make their content as useful and accessible as possible.

Bixal is continuing to learn about CX and support improvements in this critical area because, as a human-centered and outcomes-driven company, CX is the ultimate measure of our success!