U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Office of Customer Experience
SERVICE TO THE CITIZEN AWARD WINNER
Simchah is the Chief Customer Experience Officer at the USDA. As one of the first CXOs in a growing movement across all federal agencies, her team’s trailblazing efforts to stand up and scale a CXO office is helping other agencies see that new ways of working are possible.
In 2021, Simchah led implementation of USDA’s first unified contact center AskUSDA to deliver simplified access to a broad array of information across the agriculture spectrum, including food safety, supplemental nutrition assistance, farm loans, and forestry. Simchah brought her extensive knowledge and background leading contact centers and developing knowledge management practices to the execution phases and subsequent launch. She built a coalition, recruiting volunteers across the agency, and leading her USDA colleagues on a journey to tell the story of how the public interacts with USDA. Other outcomes of the project are highlighted by the volume of inquiries segmented by channel as phone, email, and live chat modalities are all supported.
Simchah also led USDA’s launch of a Telework Insights Survey to better understand employees’ wellbeing, and seek thoughtful perspectives around teleworking beyond the annual FEVS survey. USDA’s Telework Survey Insights Program was instrumental in giving voice to important topics including how people were feeling about a “return to the office” post-pandemic. Garnering a 54% response rate from 93,563 employees, and more than 125,000 comments, the strategic use of emerging technologies enabled agency leadership to quickly understand areas of concern and contentment through key themes that surfaced. For the first time, USDA was able to collect feedback data at scale across employee segments, allowing staffers to explain the effect the pandemic and telework had on their lives.