Title: Presidential Memorandum, Improving Customer Service
Author: White House Ofc. of the Press Secretary
Date: March 23, 1995

THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
March 23, 1995


SUBJECT: Improving Customer Service

In the first phase of this Administration's reinventing government initiative, I established the principle that government must be customer-driven. Executive Order No. 12862, "Setting Customer Service Standards," called for a revolution within the Federal Government to change the way it does business. The initial agency responses to that order, including the service standards published in September 1994, have begun the process of establishing a more customer-focused government. For the first time, the Federal Government's customers have been told what they have a right to expect when they ask for service. In the second phase of reinventing government ("Phase II"), this effort should be continued and integrated with other restructuring activities. The first question agency restructuring teams should ask is whether a program or function is critical to the agency's missions based on "customer" input. To carry out this Phase II effort and assure that government puts the customer first, I am now directing the additional steps set forth in this memorandum.

Actions. The agencies covered by Executive Order No. 12862 are directed as follows:

  1. In order to continue customer service reform, agencies shall treat the requirements of Executive Order No. 12862 as continuing requirements. The actions the order prescribes, such as surveying customers, surveying employees, and benchmarking, shall be continuing agency activities. The purpose of these actions will remain as indicated in Executive Order No. 12862 -- the establishment and implementation of customer service standards to guide the operations of the executive branch.
  2. Agencies shall, by September 1, 1995, complete the publication of customer service standards, in a form readily available to customers, for all operations that deliver significant services directly to the public. This shall include services that are delivered in partnership with State and local governments, services delivered by small agencies and regulatory agencies, and customer services of enforcement agencies.
  3. Agencies shall, on an ongoing basis, measure results achieved against the customer service standards and report those results to customers at least annually. Reports should be in terms readily understood by individual customers. Public reports shall be made beginning no later than September 15, 1995. Measurement systems should include objective measures wherever possible, but should also include customer satisfaction as a measure. Customer views should be obtained to determine whether standards have been set on what matters most to the customer. Agencies should publish replacement standards if needed to reflect these views.
  4. Development and tracking of customer service measures, standards, and performance should be integrated with other performance initiatives, including Phase II restructuring. Customer service standards also should be related to legislative activities, including strategic planning and performance measure- ment under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, reporting on financial and program performance under the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, and the Government Management and Reform Act of 1994. Operating plans, regulations and guidelines, training programs, and personnel classification and evaluation systems should be aligned with a customer focus.
  5. Agencies shall continue to survey employees on ideas to improve customer service, take action to motivate and recognize employees for meeting or exceeding customer service standards, and for promoting customer service. Without satisfied employees, we cannot have satisfied customers.
  6. Agencies should initiate and support actions that cut across agency lines to serve shared customer groups. Agencies should take steps to develop cross-agency, one-stop service to customer groups, so their customers do not needlessly go from one agency to another. Where possible, these steps should take advantage of new information technology tools to achieve results.
The standard of quality we seek from these actions and the Executive order is customer service for the American people that is equal to the best in business.

Independent Agencies. Independent agencies are requested to adhere to this directive.

Judicial Review. This directive is for the internal management of the executive branch and does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable by a party against the United States, its agencies or instrumentalities, its officers or employees, or any other person.

/s/ WILLIAM J. CLINTON NPR Home Page Search the NPR Site NPR Initiatives Site Index Calendar Comments Awards Links Tools Frequently Asked Questions Speeches News Releases Library Navigation Bar For NPR site