Understanding the client experience

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is on a mission to serve Canadians better, working hard to make sure that this approach is built into all aspects of how the Agency interacts with the Canadian public. It means listening carefully to what Canadians tell us about our services, so that we can change the way we work to improve our services, so that we are known to be trusted, fair and helpful by putting people first.

For Nathalie, one of CRA’s Assistant Director’s in the Human Resources Branch, she learned this lesson first hand when she invited to attend a Client Experience (CX) Toolkit training workshop within the Agency.  Nathalie credits this experience with helping her shift her thinking about the meaning of client service delivery.

“As human beings, we are naturally self-centric,” Nathalie said, “so it was meaningful to participate in a workshop that “took me out of my shoes” to really see things from the perspective of the client, and to apply that lens to provide a better service experience.”

“My first “aha” moment,” said Nathalie, “was realizing that service delivery is best assessed from the perspective of the client, and to see that this simple logic can be challenged by assumptions. We assume we know our clients well and we work hard to provide services we believe are meeting their needs. However, when our clients do not experience our services as we intend, this can leave them with a very different opinion—that becomes our reality! Therefore, to truly improve services, we must be sure that we incorporate our clients’ perspectives into our service solutions.”

“I also realized, as service providers how strongly we are attached to our service solutions and, thus, their limitations. Often, we are so committed to excellence that service complaints can easily be personalized and perceived as criticisms.”

“The workshop clarified that complaints often signal opportunities for improvement, by challenging assumptions about clients or processes and/or uncovering new information. It also became clear that when a client has a service pain point, so does the service provider (whether or not we are aware). In the end, everyone wins when we work to resolve these. This is why I am committed to CX.”

“The session was also very timely for my work in the CRA’s Human Resources Branch. As a team, we have been energized to both apply a CX lens to our work and share the knowledge with our colleagues.”

“Since the workshop, we have been pursuing, promoting and coordinating CX learning for teams and individuals across the branch, as well as networking with other CX communities of practice within the CRA and across the government. We are in the process of revamping our web pages to be more accessible and engaging. We are also developing a new service improvement web page, as a one-stop shop for CX information, resources and networks for branch employees and managers. A key feature will be to showcase examples of CX in action for both internal and external services.”

“I believe the internal service experience sets the tone for service to Canadians—another reason I am passionate about advancing CX knowledge and application within the Human Resources Branch. We want to make CX come alive for everyone!”

“I feel privileged to have been a part of this CX Toolkit training session. But I realize it is just one slice of the pie. We can increase the service pie by collaborating and sharing our understanding of the client’s perspective. I see it as a win-win for everyone when we apply a client-centric lens to all service delivery. The Chief Service Officer Directorate team, organizers of the workshop, said that they see CX as a game changer for the CRA because it will make CX real for all employees, and for our internal and external clients. I am excited to share this client focus with my colleagues in HRB and to support its application across the branch.

Nathalie is a member of the CRA’s Service by Design Working Group that serves as an Agency-wide CX community of practice to promote client-centric service design and delivery, by sharing knowledge and training colleagues to use CX tools and methodologies.

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