Some agencies have warned that their service to the public will suffer due to leaner budgets. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), the bill’s sponsor, said budget cuts are not an excuse for poor customer service.
“Just because we reduce the budget doesn’t mean we lose the common courtesy and the common service that have to provide anybody,” he said in an interview with The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp.
The public’s review of federal customer service suggest agencies have an uphill battle. The 2011 Federal Customer Experience Study found only 31 percent of Americans were very satisfied with federal service, and 79 percent said they believed the federal government could improve their customer service.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform passed the proposal last week, and the next step is to have the full House vote on the bill, Cuellar said.
Cuellar said he introduced a similar bill a couple years ago that passed the House but faced resistance from unions that saw “customer service as something that can be used against them when re-evaluated,” he said.
“The individual is the core for customer service,” Cuellar said. “I think how people treat the people that pay their salaries, that should be part of an evaluation.”
The bill’s provisions expand on an April 2011 executive order that called for improving federal customer service through developing best practices and creating ways for more customer feedback.
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-8 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.