WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) on Thursday introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen trust in the government by improving the customer experience of citizens interacting with federal agencies. The Trust in Public Service (TIPS) Act would bolster trust by ensuring that citizen interactions with government are characterized by effectiveness, ease, and positive emotions. The legislation also seeks to support the routine use of citizen and employee feedback and improve federal government communication to provide context for the ways the federal government serves the public. U.S. Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) are introducing companion bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The TIPS Act would establish federal customer experience as both a means to achieve performance outcomes and a performance goal in itself. The legislation would provide resources and accountability for agencies to implement and improve their customer experience and support collaboration across agencies, including by creating the first-ever Chief Customer Experience Officer of the United States. The bill would also set public communication standards that require agencies to include human-level context, interactivity, and modern design. Finally, it would create a Federal Advisory Commission on participation in government and civic debate and require GAO to assess efforts to improve customer experience and trust in government.

“Restoring American citizens’ trust in government starts with helping people feel heard, and letting them know public servants are here to help solve their problems. This is not a partisan issue, and I’m glad to work with my colleague Senator Lankford on this legislation. Our bill will improve the customer experience for everyone who interacts with the federal government and help federal agencies communicate with the public about the services available to them and how government can improve their lives,” said Murphy.

“Oklahomans want quality customer service from the federal government like they expect to receive when they interact with the private sector,” said Lankford. “Our federal employees work hard daily to provide quality service to Oklahomans, and our bill cements customer experience as a priority across all agencies. It will make it easier for agencies to assess how employees are performing, recognize those who provide exceptional service, and address areas needing improvements. Congress should work toward a 21st-century customer service experience for the federal government to better serve the American people.”

“Improving the customer experience at federal agencies is not a partisan issue,” said Connolly“The Trust in Public Service (TIPS) Act would finally empower the federal government to incorporate customer experience across the federal enterprise with the creation of a Chief Customer Experience Officer of the United States.  This important piece of legislation advances the opportunity for federal agencies to deliver a world-class customer experience and improve trust in government by enabling agencies to more effectively collect and use feedback to improve public services.”

“It is unacceptable that the federal government consistently ranks among the lowest in customer satisfaction when compared to the private sector. The American people have a right to expect a high level of service and professionalism from our federal agencies, given they handle some of the most sensitive aspects of our lives,” said Loudermilk. “This is why I have worked on legislation to improve the customer experience every year I’ve been in Congress, and why I am leading this effort in the House of Representatives, with Congressman Connolly. The fact that the Trust in Public Service Act is a  bipartisan, bicameral bill shows it is a very important issue for many Americans, and why I believe it will pass in the Senate and the House, and be signed into law by the President.”  

“A crucial priority on the national agenda is restoring Americans’ trust in their own government and democracy. A key element to building trust is whether Americans experience fairness and dignity –not frustrating red tape – when dealing with government. This legislation creates the framework for systematically improving customer experience with federal government services to be at least as good as, if not better than, any private business,” said John M. Kamensky, Fellow, National Academy of Public Administration and former Deputy Director, National Partnership for Reinventing Government. 

"The Center for Open Data Enterprise (CODE) promotes stakeholder engagement in government information and data programs. This engagement fits into the larger picture of agency responsiveness to public needs. That is why we strongly support the bipartisan Trust in Public Service (TIPS) Act introduced in the Senate by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and James Lankford (R-OK) and in the House by Reps. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA). The TIPS Act takes a comprehensive approach to prioritizing customer experience at the Federal level, reforms the Paperwork Reduction Act to make it easier for agencies to solicit public feedback, and encourages the government to prioritize public engagement through recognition and other means. It should go a long way towards improving public confidence and trust in government,” said Joel Gurin, President, Center for Open Data Enterprise.

“The Trust In Public Service Act is a powerful piece of legislation that will boost the quality of the US Federal customer experience, which is vital to ensuring the people’s trust in our most important public institutions,” said Rick Parrish, Vice President & Principal Analyst at Forrester.

"Delivering outstanding government services is critical to creating trust in government.  The Trust in Public Service (TIPS) Act which implements a much needed whole-of-government approach that incorporates human centered design and customer feedback with strategy, accountability and a performance framework to guide the implementation of customer experience could transform the way the public interacts, engages and transacts with the government.  It's important to note the inclusion of both external customers and internal employees which are critical to improving services,” said Martha A. Dorris, Fellow, National Academy of Public Administration; Founder, Service to the Citizen Awards; and formerly Deputy Associate Administrator for the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.