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GSA Launches USA Services: New Initiative Rapidly Connects Citizens with the Federal GovernmentService Answers Citizens' Web, E-mail and Telephone Questions in 2 Days or Less

GSA # 10032

July 30, 2003
Contact: Deborah K. Ruiz, (202) 501-1231
deborah.ruiz@gsa.gov

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- The General Services Administration (GSA) today formally launched USA Services, a Bush Administration E-Government initiative that pledges to provide citizens with responses to all their Web, e-mail and telephone inquiries within two business days or less.

During a briefing for government officials hosted by Clay Johnson, Deputy Director of Management at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Mark Forman, Administrator for E-Government and Information Technology at OMB, and GSA Administrator Stephen A. Perry, USA Services was offered as the government's first comprehensive "customer service department" for citizens.

"USA Services delivers on President Bush's E-Government promise by dramatically improving citizen access to timely, reliable, consistent, and secure information, and helps GSA fulfill its mission of helping federal agencies better serve the public," said GSA Administrator Stephen A. Perry.

"I am proud to say USA Services now answers most citizens' web and telephone inquiries immediately, and we pledge to provide answers to all e-mail and telephone citizen inquiries within two business days or less. This truly meets the Bush E-Government theme of 'My Government. My Terms.'"

USA Services, in keeping with the President's Management Agenda, responds to citizens' inquiries for information and government services via telephone, e-mail, print publications, fax, and the FirstGov.gov Web site. By partnering with other government agencies, USA Services is not only improving citizen customer service, but also developing, through collaborative efforts, government-wide standards in customer service, performance metrics, and best practices for customer service.

"USA Services provides citizens with state-of-the-art, comprehensive customer service in a seamless fashion," said M.J. Jameson, Associate Administrator of GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Communications (OCSC). "In concert with other federal agencies, USA Services is establishing a standard for citizen service across the federal government."

"By making it easy for citizens to contact the federal government and quickly get a answer, USA Services is making government more responsive to its customers, " said Clay Johnson, OMB's Deputy Director of Management. "With today's launch, tens of millions of Americans will be able to get service by placing a single call to 1-800-FED-INFO or writing an e-mail at FirstGov.gov. They won't have to thumb through a phone book figuring out what agency they should call, nor click through hundreds of Web sites produced by an online search. Making government responsive and easy, that is what the President's E-Government initiative is all about."

USA Services, created to be the centerpiece of citizen-centered government, is the official multi-channel front door to federal information and services for citizens. Its charter is to improve the delivery of information and services while affecting significant government efficiencies. These benefits will be achieved by creating a single point of contact for citizens where information for all federal agencies can be refined, consolidated and disseminated.

USA Services is built on the foundation of three successful information channels, each of which has been providing comprehensive access to federal information and services within its particular medium: FirstGov.gov (for Web services); the National Contact Center at 1-800-FED-INFO (for telephone and e-mail services); and the Federal Citizen Information Center in Pueblo, Colo. (for publications).

The initiative also offers a broad range of services to help federal agencies deliver information and conduct business with citizens through these channels. During the briefing on USA Services for government agencies, officials from Departments of the Interior and State, as well as from the Food and Drug Administration and the Social Security Administration which have partnered with USA Services were also on hand to provide their perspectives on how the initiative was helping them better serve citizens.

By establishing partnerships, USA Services can help federal agencies comply with the Executive Memorandum of December 1999. That directive requires agencies to be able to receive and respond to citizens via e-mail. Federal agencies may partner with USA Services in a number of ways, including:

Contact Center Services

1-800-FED-INFO

The National Contact Center (NCC) through 1-800-FED-INFO currently responds to about 2 million telephone inquires a year. Agencies are encouraged to redirect to the NCC telephone inquires that are not related to the agency's mission. The NCC has been in the business of answering telephone calls about federal programs and services since 1966.

E-mail and Web Inquiries

The National Contact Center (NCC) has recently begun responding to e-mail inquiries from citizens. Providing the same fast, reliable and secure service that has been provided by telephone for more than 35 years. NCC has specially trained staff available to answer questions in English and Spanish about all aspects of the federal government. On a reimbursable basis, agencies can also have the USA Services' NCC manage e-mails and telephone calls according to an agency's instructions.

Publication Order Fulfillment - Federal Citizen Information Center

In operation since 1970, the Federal Citizen Information Center facility in Pueblo, Colo., has
distributed more than 330 million publications to the American public. The Pueblo facility can manage projects from specialized targeted mailings to large-scale orders from the public. It can also meet agency warehouse needs for high-volume publication storage and management. Pueblo can customize a low-cost package that covers all agency distribution and warehousing needs. Costs consistently beat private sector charges for similar services.

GSA is a centralized federal procurement and property management agency created by Congress to improve government efficiency and help federal agencies better serve the public. It acquires, on behalf of federal agencies, office space, equipment, telecommunications, information technology, supplies and services. GSA, comprised of 14,000 associates, provides services and solutions for the office operations of over one million federal workers located in more than 8,000 government-owned and leased buildings in 2,000 U.S. communities.

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