• United States
Contributing Writer

U.S. govn’t promises two-day e-mail response time

Aug 07, 20032 mins
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* USA Services aim to streamline citizen interaction with feds

While President Bush is having difficulty getting his own customer service system in order, an initiative he proposed regarding e-government is helping federal agencies straighten out theirs.

The U.S. General Services Administration has put together a program called USA Services to streamline citizen interaction with federal agencies.

The goal of the program is to create a central repository for citizens to get their questions answered and for federal agencies to be able to forward questions that do not pertain to them. The agencies can simply send the message to USA Services and the staff there will obtain an answer and respond quickly to the citizen.

The GSA hopes this will alleviate the burden on individual agencies to ramp up their customer service groups and save money across the board. It also intends to ease the headache citizens feel when they try to figure out who best to answer their questions.

“I am proud to say USA Services now answers most citizens’ Web and telephone inquiries immediately, and we pledge to provide answers to all e-mail and telephone citizen inquiries within two business days or less,” says GSA Administrator Stephen Perry in a published statement.  “This truly meets the Bush E-Government theme of ‘My Government. My Terms.'”

USA Services is being called “a comprehensive customer service department” for the government. Already 12 U.S. agencies have signed up to be part of the program, including the Department of Justice. Eventually, government officials hope that all information queries for the federal government – whether through fax, phone, Web or e-mail – can be channeled through USA Services.

If it can fulfill this promise, USA Services will definitely be a success story in Bush’s plan to make government more accessible and responsive to citizens.