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  7. Acquisition Guidance for CX Support at DHS

Acquisition Guidance for CX Support at DHS

What is Customer Experience?

It is the sum of all touch points and experiences a customer has with your organization. Since government is often a sole-source service provider (for example, there is only one place to get a work visa), customer experience (CX) is critically important in the public sector.

DHS is embarking on a paradigm shift to center its services around those who use them—delivering simple, secure, effective, equitable, and responsive solutions for all people we serve. CX takes a holistic approach to service delivery by designing each touchpoint for a cohesive experience, whether digital, in person, on the phone, or other methods. This requires cultural as well as procedural change. OMB A-11 section 280, the 2021 President’s Management Agenda (PMA) and Presidential Executive Order number 14058 describe and direct this new approach.

Starter Tips for CX Acquisitions at Your Organization

• Investing in CX expertise and establishing CX includes gaining funding, human capital, and infrastructure as it requires a culture shift toward Human Centered Design.

• Ensure that executive-level leadership understands and commits and supports advancing CX within your organization from the start.

• Collaborate cross-functionally, early and frequently. This is efficient and promotes optimal customer experience improvements.

The Roadmap for CX Growth

  • 1. Focus on a Persistent Customer Need

    Icon indicating step one with customers and their list of needs

    Focus will concentrate momentum. Work with leaders and existing data to identify an agreed-upon pain point, then leverage contracts to bring speed and expertise to solve it.

  • 2. Start With an Inspiring Vision for Change

    Iocn indicating step 2 with an eye surrounded by lines radiating around it

    Look forward and think of the story you want to tell others after the initial priority work is done. Then look backwards and build a plan to realize that vision.

    Think about how you will measure the impact of your CX efforts.

    Stretch beyond the status quo. Envision what this service could look like in five years and aim to do that in one year.

  • 3. Identify Your Needs and Ask for Help

    Icon indicating step 3 and a checklist on a laptop screen

    Find the people within and outside the organization who you can partner with. The CX Cross Agency Priority Goal team and other agency CX professionals can help guide you through this process.

    Engage stakeholders as partners and co-creators versus clients or direct reports.

    Shape contractor relationships so they build the capacity of your program and agency (e.g., processes, trainings, templates, hiring guidance) while solving CX challenges.

  • 4. Share Your Research in the Open

    Icon indicating step 4 and sheets of paper filled with data

    Start talking to customers to ensure that you're solving the right problems for the right people.

    Share your insight relentlessly with customers. Always keep them in the loop and they will be your biggest advocates.

    Integrate periodic briefings to internal leaders within contracting agreements to share insights, chose pilots, and demonstrate results.

Buying CX Support to Enhance DHS Service Delivery

To Understand Customers’ Needs, Listen and Observe

  • Following the CX Roadmap, identify and define your needs. For instance, are you seeking to obtain support from CX designers that can integrate into existing development teams, or are you seeking full development teams that include CX designers?
  • Conduct discovery by observing and listening to customers to understand their needs and experiences. Use that data to inform your CX vision and goals.
  • Assess your organization’s capacity and support needs, which can be guided by these three questions:
    1. What does great CX look like for our organization/program?
    2. What are the biggest challenges that we want to focus on?
    3. How will we measure success?
  • Prioritize your needs.
  • If you determine you require contractor support to support your CX vision and goals, conduct market research, identify how to fund that need, and engage your procurement office.


To Procure CX Support, Include CX SMEs in Your Process, and be Flexible

Working with your contracting officer:

  • Develop an acquisition strategy that fits your need. Take a flexible approach that is based on goals and objectives. This will help better assess the marketplace for your requirement.
  • Consider how to evaluate offers you will receive and structure your evaluation to discriminate offeror’s CX capabilities. An offeror’s approach should center on the customer, and the offeror should be able to show how they translate customer needs into products. Design should not be a stand-alone silo offering, but rather integrated into how an offeror does business.
  • Determine what the offerors’ responses to the solicitation should include to best assess the offerors’ CX capabilities. For instance, would an oral presentation where the offeror responds to a simple scenario reflective of your organization or program priority CX challenge be useful?
  • Make sure people who understand CX support the evaluation of offers. Consider bringing in evaluators, technical subject matter experts, or advisors from the DHS OCIO CX team, or other federal agencies, as needed.
Last Updated: 06/14/2024
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