Skip to main content

Next Generation Customer Service for Government Employees




Recently I have been working with federal agencies that are adopting commercial customer service techniques for helping government workers be more productive.

The new trend I am seeing is to add self-service functions to traditional help desks.  Government workers are telecommuting more frequently, and for some agencies can be scattered around the country or around the world, leading to challenges in call center coverage.

Younger government employees in particular are often more comfortable searching online than picking up the phone to call a help desk.  They expect from their government agencies the same kind of customer care that is offered by companies.

Here are some of the ways agencies can increase self-service for employees:

  1. Publish FAQs and Troubleshooters on websites and intranets.   By providing step-by-step instructions, you can forestall some help calls and provide service even when the help desk is closed. You can seed the FAQs by analyzing historical trouble tickets and identifying those that are both common and can be resolved without intervention by another person such as a network administrator.
  2. Organize your knowledge base.  The answer is out there, but it may be difficult to find.  Search engines are part of the solution, but creating a visible taxonomy (set of categories) for topics can make it much easier for users to navigate to the right web page or document.  
  3.  Treat employees like customers. If you adopt a mindset which is similar to a commercial company, you can measure and reward behavior that improves employee satisfaction.
  4. Deflect calls. Phone calls to a help desk are one of the most expensive types of support, and sometimes you can avoid them by providing information as the customer requests help.  For instance, an online form can ask the employee for the problem type, and show links to possible solutions.  
  5. Allow multiple paths to support. Employees appreciate options of different ways to get support at different times.  Some people have strong preferences for a particular support channel, while others will use many.  For instance, when I interact with my phone company, I have used phone, email, live chat, and knowledge base searches depending on the issue at hand.   Live chat is especially good when you need to communicate a computer problem and describe what is on your screen.  Sometimes email is best when I want to "fire and forget" because I need to move on to another task.  
In an earlier post, I wrote about Microsoft's new Employee Self-Service Offering brings this approach to customers.  A white paper "Justifying Knowledge Management in Customer Service" by CRM analyst Esteban Kolsky is available.    

I expect this trend to continue in order to enhance productivity and retention of government employees despite budgetary pressures. 

Popular posts from this blog

PowerApps Portal: The Successor to Microsoft Dynamics Portal

In case you have been reviewing Microsoft's new pricing for its Dynamics products which was released this month and have been unable to find Dynamics Portal, it has been rebranded as PowerApps Portal and shifted to the PowerApps side of the Microsoft product family.


Rebranding the portal product underscores the importance of app scenarios involving external users such as customers and suppliers.  It also provides a simpler interface than Dynamics 365 for occasional users.

The new portal pricing is based on the number of unique users who log into the portal each month (for authenticated users) and on the number of page views for anonymous users.  "A login provides an external authenticated user access to a single portal for up to 24 hours. Multiple logins during the 24-hour period count as 1 billable login. Internal users can be licensed either by the PowerApps per app or per users plans, or a qualifying Dynamics 365 subscription."

Pricing starts at $200/mo. for 100 dail…

ScreenMeet Remote Support Tool for Dynamics 365 Customer Service

I met Lou Guercia when he was president and CEO of Scribe Software, the leading CRM integration tool.  Scribe was acquired by TIBCO Software in 2018.  I recently reconnected with Lou and learned about ScreenMeet, the company he joined as chief operating officer.   The following is a description of the product provided by ScreenMeet:

ScreenMeet is a cloud-based remote support tool designed to integrate with Dynamics 365 Customer Service. By enabling customer service and IT support organizations to address critical technical issues directly from their CRM or ticketing platform, it streamlines the process and provides a fully browser-based support experience.

You can also use ScreenMeet with other CRM products or even on its own without a CRM.

Here is a short video demo of ScreenMeet with Dynamics integration:


ScreenMeet - Cloud-based Remote Support Integrated with Dynamics 365 Customer Support Once integrated with a Dynamics 365 CS organization, the ScreenMeet widget appears on Case pa…

The DATA Act Driving Grant Management Automation

The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act enacted in May 2014 calls for making spending data available in open, standardized formats to be published online.  It is a continuation of transparency initiatives and lessons learned with experiences such as grants.gov, the 2009 economic stimulus under the Recovery Act and the spending site USASpending.gov.

Government grantees will have significant new administrative responsibilities.  Many organizations that were tracking grants in spreadsheets or documents will have to adopt more sophisticated automated grant management systems such as Microsoft Grants Manager to keep up with reporting rules.

For profit companies will lose some privacy as a result of this law.  Grant recipients will be required to disclose information including officer salaries.

Continued improvements to publishing grant opportunities such as grants.gov may make it easier to find grants. These reforms together are designed to improve the effectiveness of grant prog…