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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Thum, Ph.D., CCXP

When great government CX pep talks come in the form of a celebrity blog post

Sometimes the biggest inspirations come in the form of blog posts.

Earlier this month, Melinda French Gates posted an article on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website that made my heart pitter-patter. It was so inspirational that I recommend every government #CX pro moves it to the top of their own reading list: Link.

“…after three years of prototyping, digesting 1,800 pages of federal and state regulations, prototyping again, and pilot testing, Michigan rolled out a new form. It is 80% shorter. Nine out of 10 applicants fill it out in 20 minutes or less. And it takes staff 42% less time to process.” -Melinda French Gates

It’s a story that illuminates the “so what” of customer experience practices in government agencies at all levels. Yes, there’s a super human-centered design angle to the story! But the article also speaks to how the *entire business discipline* of customer experience went into play at a Michigan state government agency in the United States:

  • Data, metrics, and measurements attracted a lasting interest in what burden, sludge, and red tape look and feel like for people. This helped people zero in on an empathy gap that often exists between the creators of government forms and the people who must navigate them.

  • Organizational collaboration, project management, and fortitude went into moving this project forward. CX victories don’t happen inside the four walls of one person’s office. And definitely not overnight. In this case, the work took 3+ years.

  • Employee experiences improved, too. It can be argued that excessive burden, sludge, and red tape hurt customers of government; however, employees' workloads in connection to sludge are often undervalued in the process of customer experience improvements. This project kept employees in focus, too.

Burden and red tape will always be part of government CX, but there *are* ways to balance those realities with helping customers. It’s a super inspirational story that I hope makes it into CX pros' internal talk tracks and storytelling.

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