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HUD Customer Satisfaction Report

Chapter 1 - Community Planning and Development

Secretary Henry G. Cisneros has articulated a clear mission for HUD, which is to help create cohesive, economically healthy communities � communities of opportunity � throughout the United States. A critical aspect of this mission is to significantly imp rove service to our customers. The primary purpose of this document is for HUD, in cooperation with the National Performance Review, to report on our customer service improvements. In assessing customer satisfaction, we have conducted an analysis which is intended to answer the following questions.

  • How is HUD measuring customer satisfaction?

  • Are HUD�s customer service standards about the things that matter most to our customers?

  • Are results reported to HUD customers?

  • What changes have been made or will be made as a result of customer feedback?

    It is our hope that this document has effectively responded to these important questions. Before providing a response to these questions, it should be noted that HUD considers its ultimate customers to be individuals and families who benefit from its program and activities. To understand HUD�s relationship to its customers, it should be noted that there are three primary interactions which occur:

    1. HUD serves individuals and families who seek direct assistance from HUD;

    2. HUD serves the organizations that are its partners (State and local agencies) in administering HUD programs; and

    3. HUD indirectly serves individuals through these partner organizations.

    First, how is HUD measuring customer satisfaction?
    HUD has used a variety of methods and techniques to obtain feedback from customers, including surveys of providers of local services, use of State and local participation groups, use of the World Wide Web, forums and training sessions, regular meetings wi th advocacy groups, research and analysis, the use of 1-800 telephone numbers, customer inquiry and follow-up, and program monitoring by HUD staff.

    In our Community Planning and Development (CPD) area, a survey was conducted to determine the future direction of the homeless program. Respondents were asked to suggest improvements in the delivery of homeless services and identify priority issues to be addressed in the Department�s homeless plan. In the area of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO), a survey of partners was conducted to determine their satisfaction with FHEO support and services. In addition, some 350 Fair Housing discrimination complainants were surveyed to determine how effectively they were served.

    Second, are HUD�s customer service standards about the things that matter most to our customers?
    A key set of customer service standards has been developed which are applicable to any of our program areas:

    • Customers Deserve Respect
    • Customers Deserve Quality Products
    • Customers Deserve Timely Service
    • Customers Deserve Results

    Standards such as these are designed to assure that the Department is on track toward becoming a world class customer service organization. As an example of timely service, CPD has determined that the Consolidated Plan for a community must be approved in 45 days. Meeting this standard was determined to be so critical that a decision was made that if a response was not received within 45 days, approval would be automatic.

    Third, are results reported to customers?
    The Department is exploring new and more direct ways of reporting to our customers and partners. HUD has always provided some feedback to certain customers through such mechanisms as annual reports. Public and Indian Housing (PIH) prepares an annual rep ort to its customers, which generally reports on funding provided, customers served, and issues of interest. Over the last four years, many new and exciting vehicles have been developed to use in reporting to customers. For example, each month Federal H ousing Administration (FHA) provides on the Internet the results of the key objectives of its Housing Management Plan so any customer can see the level of performance of their local FHA Office.

    Fourth, what changes have been made or will be made as a result of customer feedback?
    HUD listens to its customers. Good customer service requires being "in sync" with the needs of customers. There are numerous examples of changes made based on concerns/issues raised by HUD customers. For example, based on the results of forums held thr oughout the United States, CPD has developed one, consolidated planning process. This replaced the cumbersome process of the past which had 12 different planning, application and reporting requirements for four different formula-based funding programs.

    The key lessons learned in this process of enhancing and strengthening customer service have been that:

    the real secret of effective customer service is ensuring that customers have a real voice in the nature, scope and location of services � facilities need to be provided locally with federal assistance; and, the Federal Government must permit more flexibility, utilizing a "bottom-up" rather than a "top-down" planning approach. To accomplish this, customers must be provided with an opportunity for early and on-going input into the planning and development pro cess, and they must be given clear and timely reports on what has been achieved.

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    Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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