A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

FY 1999 Annual Plan - Volume 1. Objective Performance Plans and Data Quality - February 27, 1998

Objective 4.1. Our customers receive fast, seamless service and dissemination of high-quality information and products.


Context: To accomplish its mission of ensuring equal access to information and promoting educational excellence throughout the Nation, the Department must support the efforts of States, postsecondary institutions, school districts, schools boards, schools, community and business organizations, principals, teachers, parents, and students. All of these customers look to the Department for fast, accurate information and assistance to meet their various education needs.

Key strategies for FY 1999

Coordination

Selected performance indicators and charts

One of the most important aspects of this objective and the initiatives outlined is the need for customer service to be integrated not only into our most popular and used services, but throughout the Department. In order for the Department to incorporate concepts and best practices related to customer focus into daily operations, we are developing cross-cutting approaches for meeting this objective. The indicators in this objective seek to track performance on meeting the Department's customer service standards and in providing quality products and services to the public that are timely and accessible.

Department employees and front-line service centers will meet or exceed the Department's customer service standards by 2000. (Goal 4, indicator 2)

Indicator background and context. The 1996 employee survey showed that 63.2% of employees agreed that their organizations were meeting customer needs, a 37.4% improvement from the 1993 survey. To ED's credit, some of our highest volume toll-free numbers, like 1- 800-4-FED-AID, have been a model for providing a consistent level of reliable, high-quality telephone service to ED customers each day. Plans being developed for the next year will be structured to increase customer service at all levels of the organization.

Data source. Information Resource Center (IRC), Student Financial Aid System (1-800-4-FED-AID), National Library of Education (NLE) data systems.

By 2001, at least 90% of customers, internal and external, will agree that ED products, services, and information, including those on the Department's web site, are of high quality, timely, and accessible. (Goal 4, indicator 1)

Indicator background and context. While a more strategic approach is needed for assessing customer satisfaction with all ED products and services, there are pockets of qualitative measures available. For instance, in the January 1997 ED Internet online customer survey, 87% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the ED Online Library and EDInfo. The best measures currently in place are for volume. For example, the number of customers calling ED's main information line, 1-800- USA-LEARN, has increased over 55% since 1995. That center received over 277,000 calls last year. Our student financial aid number, 1-800-4FED-AID, received over 1.3 million calls last year. The number of people accessing the ED web site increased a significant 480% since 1994.

Data source. Information Resource Center data systems; National Library of Education data systems.

Verification/validation of performance measures: Many Department's call centers measure progress in meeting customer service standards, including call waiting time. The planned "one-pubs" operation will yield information about response time and comment cards will collect customer service data. Independent customer surveys conducted by the Department's Planning and Evaluation Service will validate customer information.

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