Federal CIO Clare Martorana said today that good customer experience (CX) in government starts with “meeting people where they are,” and doing so equitably in order to build back trust in government.

At the 2022 Adobe Experience Makers Government Forum today, Martorana explained that it’s “absolutely mission-critical” for both Federal and state and local governments to meet citizens where they are because every single interaction with government and the public “is an opportunity for us to deliver value, service, and efficiency.”

“It really starts with meeting people where they are,” she explained. “Online, digital is what we’re talking about in our areas of expertise, but sometimes it can be through the mail, in-person, through a call center – so building back that trust in government, to me, means meeting people where they are.”

“It’s also really critical that we are delivering in equitable government so that we are focused on delivering products and services that don’t introduce bias,” she continued. “And again, meeting people where they are, I think is a really important part of the work that we’re all charged with.”

Martorana said that President Biden’s executive orders (EOs) on customer experience, advancing racial equity, and supporting underserved communities tie together nicely when it comes to CX.

The equity EO has engaged about 90 Federal agencies to take a step back and conduct equity assessments of their “high-impact services to the American people so that we could uncover some systematic barriers that could exist,” Martorana said. The CX EO allows the agencies to continue their equity work, but now “from a digital perspective,” she said.

“It’s exciting to see this evolution,” Martorana said. “I think we’re leaning into taking even the next step with some of our life experiences that are really going to be able to drive the delivery of these services, hopefully in continuing to add some personalization to the services that we are delivering and really demonstrating our capabilities and abilities that we have in the Federal workforce and with our industry partners to deliver extraordinary services.”

To achieve the goals of both EOs, Martorana said it will come down to talent. She said the Federal government will need “technical talent from all across America” to “ensure that we’re not building bias into the products and services that we deliver.”

Bill Zielinski, the CIO for the City of Dallas and former CIO at the Social Security Administration, emphasized Martorana’s notion of meeting people where they are, equitably, especially at the state and local government level.

“I really love that Clare talked about meeting them where they are – that’s a lot more stark to me now as I work in the city of Dallas because it literally is where they are, meaning in their neighborhoods, in the locations that they are,” Zielinski said.

“What we saw during the pandemic is that a lot of residents of the city of Dallas actually come to our facilities, come to our libraries, our recreation centers, not just for simple tasks that you might associate with those places, but actually to utilize things like the internet availability or the computers that we have there, to checkout hotspots, or to do other things because we are a critical element of that delivery,” he explained. “So, meeting them where they are is truly important within the city.”

Both Zielinski and Martorana noted it’s also important to have a way to measure the equity in digital services, such as conducting full technical assessments of workflows and processes and implementing survey tools.

“We are working hard to lean into all of those areas, and make sure that we are measuring ourselves to make sure that we’re delivering the best products and services for our customers,” Martorana said.

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