Now more than ever, people expect to have a good experience when interacting with companies or organizations. Whether the interaction stems from a question, the desire to provide feedback, or an inquiry about services, a good customer experience is built on good customer service. In its simplest form, customer experience works to understand the entire end-to-end experience in order to enhance each interaction, better understand a customer’s needs, and leverage learnings to improve service.
USDA’s AskUSDA Contact Center program has set out to do just that by acting as the “one front door” for USDA questions, providing an enhanced experience when reaching out to the Department. Before its launch, those trying to reach out to USDA had to navigate dozens of different phone numbers and had no way of reaching out online. Today, AskUSDA offers a “One Site. One Number. One Email” experience to create a centralized and accessible hub for that first interaction.
A FOCUS ON CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
A good customer experience is intentionally designed with people in mind, focusing on the improvements trying to be made as well as the methods used to create those solutions.
AskUSDA was created as a data-driven and human-centered customer contact center to ensure the people we serve are able to get the answers and help they need when it comes to USDA programs and services. Learnings from interactions and inquiries will impact further improvements.
ONE FRONT DOOR
AskUSDA is the “one front door” for the public to access information and help from USDA. This program gives customers the ability to resolve simple issues and answer common questions on their own via a self-service platform or connect with a trained representative via web, live chat, phone, or e-mail.
AskUSDA is set up to handle questions across agencies and program areas that service a variety of audiences. For example, customers who may have basic questions about USDA’s nutrition services can be assisted across phone, e-mail, and web chat by trained AskUSDA representatives, and customers who may have complicated questions about loan programs can be quickly connected to agency experts. AskUSDA also hosts over five thousand articles online at Ask.USDA.gov for a self-service option.
- One Site
- Ask.USDA.gov hosts over five thousand articles that are leveraged in a self-service option to site visitors. Visitors can search simple queries and find answers in articles that range in topics like food safety, pet-travel guidance, and program-specific education. These can be accessed 24/7.
- If chatting with an agent is preferred, the site also provides a live chat functionality available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST on weekdays.
- One Number
- The public can contact AskUSDA by phone at (833) ONE-USDA to speak with a live representative from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST on weekdays.
- One E-mail
- For those that prefer e-mail, inquiries can also be sent to email@example.com where a representative will reach back out with further assistance.
In conclusion, AskUSDA delivers superior customer service and consistent information in alignment with the Department’s mission of creating the most effective, most efficient, most customer-focused department in the federal government. The program’s focus on accessibility further emphasizes the our focus on improving the customer experience.