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CX Glossary

As you learn more about customer experience at DHS, you'll find several important words and concepts are used frequently.

Customer: any individual, business, or organization (such as a grantee or state, local, or Tribal entity) that interacts with an agency or program, either directly or through a federally funded program administered by a contractor, nonprofit, or other federal entity.

Customer Experience: a combination of factors that result from touchpoints between an individual, business, or organization and the Federal Government over the duration of an interaction and relationship. These factors can include ease/simplicity, efficiency/speed, equity/transparency of the process, effectiveness/perceived value of the service itself, and the interaction with any employees. Perceived responsiveness to individual needs and feedback is also important.

Service: the sum of the help provided—by an agency and its partners—throughout the process a customer goes through to obtain, receive, or make use of a public offering (or comply with a policy).

Service Delivery: the multitude of diverse interactions between a customer and Federal agency such as applying for a benefit or loan, receiving a service such as healthcare or small business counseling, requesting a document such as a passport or social security card, complying with a rule or regulation such as filing taxes or declaring goods, utilizing resources such as a park or historical site, or seeking information such as public health or consumer protection notices 

Human-Centered Design (HCD): an interdisciplinary methodology of putting people, including those who will use or be impacted by what one creates, at the center of any process to solve challenging problems.

High Impact Service Provider (HISP): a federal entity, as designated by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), that provides or funds customer-facing services, including Federal services administered at the State or local level, that have a high impact on the public, whether because of a large customer base or a critical effect on those served.


  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Last Updated: 06/14/2024
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