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Customer Service Standards Set For All Federal Agencies Cabinet Secretaries,Agency Heads At Events Across the Nation

WASHINGTON -- In a major step toward restoring citizen confidence in the federal government, President Clinton and Vice President Gore released today (9/20) the first-ever set of published customer service standards for each department and agency in the federal government.

As part of Customer Service Day, cabinet secretaries and agency heads are joining the President and Vice President at 24 events across the nation to share with the American people their new standards and procedures for improving customer service. Side-by-side with their frontline employees, these officials will unveil their new customer service standards and ask for continuing customer input on how their organizations perform.

For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is fighting crime through a new computerized file and search system so that fingerprint checks can be done in hours instead of weeks. At the Internal Revenue Service, tax refunds are being mailed within 40 days of receipt, or, if a taxpayer files electronically, in about 21 days. In addition, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has set up a toll-free number so that a customer at any time can report an unsafe product or get information on things such as flammable rayon skirts, or the recalls of certain products.

"This report says we must have a revolution in the way the government operates. It says our overall standards must be equal to the best in the business because the American people demand and deserve no less," President Clinton said. "We're going to do that by putting our customers -- the American people -- first."

"The goal of this report is to achieve a results-driven government that focuses on quality and customer satisfaction," Vice President Gore said. "Our actions are real and measurable. This report presents more than 1,500 specific customer service standards representing commitments from more than 100 federal organizations."

The report, Putting Customers First: Standards for Serving the American People, establishes customer service standards for each department and agency, requires the federal government to keep track of its performance as measured by those standards, then publish those results on a regular basis. It is based on information gathered from the American people about what they wanted from their federal government and surveys of front-line employees about what they needed to improve service. Its goal is to be make federal government service equal to the best in the business

Today's report is part of Vice President Gore's National Performance Review: Creating a Government that Works Better and Costs Less, which he presented to the President last September. One of the recommendations in the report called for all departments and agencies to develop customer service standards. Within days after the NPR initiative was released, President Clinton issued an executive order calling for a customer service "revolution within the federal government to change the way it does business."