During difficult times, it’s more important than ever for the government to serve its citizens well. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has prioritized a modern, responsive customer experience (CX). As one of 25 designated “High Impact Service Providers,” SBA works to improve experience and service delivery in a more customer-centric way, ensuring that Americans receive the right resources when they need it most.
Using CX Best Practices to Support Small Businesses During COVID-19
Since the launch of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) on April 3, 2020, the SBA has processed 5 million loans for more than half a trillion dollars of economic support, providing critical support to millions of small businesses and their employees. SBA’s 68 district offices are the point of delivery for most SBA programs and services, and they have used CX best practices to better serve the American public. One of those offices, the Houston District Office (HDO), exemplifies the effort to move quickly to support America’s small business owners:
March 15: The HDO rallied together and developed an aggressive plan for assisting their 620,000+ local small businesses as they faced the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
March 17: The HDO hosted webinars for direct resource partners and lenders so that all of SBA’s network representatives could hit the ground running.
March 18: The HDO hosted the first public webinar related to COVID-19. Since then, the HDO has conducted nearly 300 webinars/town halls/teleconferences with Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Organizations, U.S. Congressional Offices, other partner organizations, and SBA Resource Partners. This includes outreach events offered in Spanish to better meet customer needs.
May 2020: The HDO expanded its educational resources to include events focusing on economic resiliency and recovery, such as twice daily interactive Q&A webinars for the public with SBA District Office Leadership.
Improving and Streamlining Customer Inquiry Response
Taking an enterprise approach to customer service has also allowed SBA to analyze and improve the customer experience across the agency. As a result of the CARES Act, customer email inquiries to the SBA skyrocketed. SBA accelerated its timeline to launch an Enterprise Customer Relationship Management application in order to meet the increasing need and stood up a Customer Service Hub cloud application in under one week. Less than two months later, the Customer Service Hub has become a central tool in the agency’s COVID-19 response effort, reaching one million emails by mid-May.
Since 1953, SBA has worked to help American small businesses across the country. During this unprecedented time, we will continue to improve customer experience and enhance the impact of SBA’s programs to ensure small businesses have the resources they need, now and in the future.