4 March 1998

Delivered-By-The-Graces-Of: White House Electronic Publications
To: Public-Distribution@pub.pub.whitehouse.gov
Date: Wed, 4 Mar 1998 11:10 -0500
From: The White House <Publications-Admin@pub.pub.whitehouse.gov>
Reply-To: Publications@pub.pub.whitehouse.gov
Subject: 1998-03-03 Presidential Directive on Conversations with America
Keywords: Directive, Executive-Act, Government, Organization, Personnel,
          Social, Social-Values
Document-ID: pdi://oma.eop.gov.us/1998/3/4/5.text.1
URL: http://www.pub.whitehouse.gov/uri-res/I2R?urn:pdi://oma.eop.gov.us/1998/3/4/5.text.1

                            THE WHITE HOUSE

                    Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                      March 3, 1998


SUBJECT:       Conducting "Conversations with America"
               to Further Improve Customer Service

    This Administration has made significant progress toward 
reinventing Government to improve customer service since I issued 
Executive Order 12862, "Setting Customer Service Standards," on 
September 11, 1993, followed by my memorandum of March 22, 1995, 
"Improving Customer Service."  For the first time, the Federal 
Government's customers have been asked what they want and have been 
told that they have a right to expect first-class service.  Now they 
can see the results achieved against the customer service standards 
that have been set in place.

    On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the establishment of 
my Administration's reinventing Government initiative, it is time to 
increase efforts to engage customers in conversations about further 
improving Government service.  This initiative -- "Conversations with 
America" -- will enable your agency to discover what is most important 
to its customers and what the Federal Government can do to meet their 
expectations.  As your agency learns what Americans care about, use 
this information to provide service that will equal the best in 
business and serve as a model for others.

    To carry out this effort and assure that Government works better 
and gets results Americans care about, I am now directing the 
additional steps set forth below.


The agencies covered by Executive Order 12862 are directed as follows:

1.  Agencies shall create activities and programs, continuing 
throughout the year, that will engage customers in a discussion about 
how to improve Government service by determining the kind and quality 
of services they want and their level of satisfaction with existing 

2.  By no later than March 16, 1998, agencies shall designate a person
within the agency to serve as the primary liaison to coordinate 
information and programs dealing with the "Conversations with America" 
initiative.  Agencies shall then provide the National Partnership for 
Reinventing Government (NPR) with their agency's primary liaison and a 
list of events the agency will conduct to engage Americans in 
conversations about improving Government service.  This monthly report 
should provide the date and a brief description of each event.

3.  Agencies shall engage the largest number of customers possible in 
these conversations.  The use of all forms of media is encouraged to 
reach the largest possible audience.  Particular emphasis should be 
placed on conducting these conversations in the areas where agency 
customers live and work.

4.  In 1998, agencies shall put in place a process to address customer
complaints.  Agency customers should be provided opportunities for 
finding solutions to problems, such as "Problem Solving Days" and other 
venues.  Agencies shall track and analyze the data they receive and use 
it to change processes that do not serve customers well.  As your 
agency identifies individual problems, work to solve them quickly and 

5.  Agencies shall use the information from "Conversations with 
America" and continue to track customer service measurements, then take 
necessary actions to change or improve how the agency operates, as 
appropriate.  Integrate what your agency learns from its customers with 
your agency's strategic plans, operating plans, and performance 
measures required by the Government Performance and Results Act of 
1993, reporting on financial and program performance under the Chief 
Financial Officers Act of 1990, and the Government Management Reform 
Act of 1994.

6.  As required by my memorandum on improving customer service of March 
22, 1995, each agency shall, on at least an annual basis, report on the
customer service results they have achieved in terms readily understood 
by individual customers.  Agencies shall continue actions required by
Executive Order 12862 as well, including, but not limited to surveying
employees and conducting benchmarking studies to assure we achieve 
customer service for the American people that is equal to the best in 

Independent Agencies. 

Independent agencies are requested to adhere to this directive.

Judicial Review. 

This directive is for the internal management of the executive branch 
and does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, 
enforceable by a party against the United States, its agencies or 
instrumentalities, its officers or employees, or any other person.

                                   WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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