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FCW : October 30, 2013
hen it comes to govern- ment IT-based programs, the technology itself rarely seems to be a stumbling block. Agency culture --- mainly the various parts of an agency simply talking to each other --- is most often the culprit. The push to boost the performance of agency contact centers is a prime example of that. The problem was noted several years ago. In a March 2009 white paper written for the then-new Obama Administration, the Govern- ment Contact Center Council (G3C) said that one of the main barriers to better government customer service was the lack of intra-agency col- laboration and coordination. The pressure on contact centers has only increased since then. A survey conducted by the CFI Group, which was used to com- pile the 2012 Government Contact Satisfaction Index, found it was a contact center agent's knowledge about their agency that was the most critical feature in terms of im- pact on a citizen's satisfaction with contact centers. With that in mind, many agen- cies are looking to consolidate the various dispersed points of informa- tion across their systems, so that contact center agents can have it all at their ngertips in one location. That's critical to the future per- formance of government contact centers, said Ron Woody, senior solution architect for Xerox Federal Services, and more agencies seem to be realizing that. "Many of the requests for in- formation I've seen in the past 18 months have been from agencies looking for strategies on how to consolidate their numerous call cen- ters or service desks," he said. The Department of Veterans Affairs has already taken the leap. In 2010, the VA's inspector general found that just 49 percent of callers to the Veterans Bene ts Administra- tion --- probably the most politically sensitive part of the VA --- had a chance of reaching an agent and getting accurate information. Under heavy re from Congress and other critics to get its act in order, the VA in 2011 began a pro- gram called the Veterans Relation- ship Management (VRM) Uni ed Desktop, a multi-year project to integrate 13 VA bene t databases onto one server, with all the informa- tion accessible on a single screen. Technology from vendors such as Xerox can help make this hap- pen, but technology is not enough, Woody says. "It takes that concept of collabo- ration --- for government being will- ing to combine all of the separate systems at agencies onto the single desktop," he said. "But in many agencies, the various areas that need to come together to do that still control their own funding and decision making." Until you can identify the cham- pion within the agency who is going to work across all of those various lines of responsibility, he said, the only thing contact center managers can do is work to improve their own areas. Sponsored Report CONTACT CENTERS Performance hinges on customer service culture FULL REPORT ONLINE Go to FCW.com/2013ContactCenters
September 30, 2013
November 15, 2013