FPAC Customer Experience Enhancement Committee (CXEC)

The CXEC is a cohort program that brings together US Department of Agriculture (USDA) staff across America to learn about customer experience (CX) and develop new solutions to common CX issues faced by American farmers. In doing so, it creates a unique space for collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and the development of locally-informed solutions.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

The USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) Mission Area has thousands of employees who work directly with American farmers and producers to help ensure their continued success. These staff members have first-hand experience with the challenges that farmers face in working with the federal government. Additionally, they are more likely than other USDA staff members to be farmers themselves, giving them unique insights into producers’ needs.

In order to capitalize on this knowledge and use it to inform broader improvements to farmers’ customer experience (CX), FPAC's Customer Experience Team created a nationwide cohort program, the Customer Experience Enhancement Committee (CXEC). The CXEC is an application-based, year-long program that brings together staff from the three primary FPAC agencies (Farm Service Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Risk Management Agency) to collaboratively create ideas for solutions to address common farmer CX issues. It also provides a space for participants to learn more formally about the discipline of customer experience, gain additional training, and use that knowledge to drive continued CX improvement in their own workplaces. CXEC members are accepted at all levels of seniority, with a focus on field-facing employees.

Approximately 30 participants are accepted every year, and, over the course of the program, they work together in small groups to build their skills and identify solutions related to a specific challenge (for example, “Customer Communications”). The program includes bimonthly all-cohort meetings and trainings, small-group working sessions at least once per month, and optional learning and collaboration sessions. It also requires the submission of structured deliverables designed to help participants learn how to develop customer-focused service innovations. Additionally, cohort members have dedicated virtual channels for chat and co-working, and the program prioritizes creating a culture and environment in which participants can get to know each other and form bonds that will last after the program is completed.

Throughout the year, participants work with the larger FPAC CX team to refine their work, and their final concepts are presented at the end of the year to both the CX Team and FPAC leadership as candidates for further development. In the course of this work, they also learn specific skills related to both customer experience and human-centered program design, such as how to define users’ needs.

The program is now in its second year, with plans to continue in future years as well. In addition to working directly with participants, the FPAC CX Team has also begun working with program alumni to help support them in sharing their knowledge and advocating for customer experience improvements among their local peers.

Innovation Description

Innovation Development

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Year: 2019
Level of government: National/Federal government

Status:

  • Implementation - making the innovation happen

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