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Misdirects

Do you receive calls and emails that have nothing to do with your agency’s mission and wish you had someone else who could handle these for you? By letting the USA.gov Contact Center (USA.gov CC) handle your misdirected inquiries, your agency will have more time to focus on your own core mission.  This service is free to agencies, and effective with 2010, the process is vastly simplified. If you didn’t participate before because the process seemed too complicated, now is the time to opt in. It’s very easy.

How It Works

  • Refer the telephone calls to 1 800 FED-INFO and forward the emails to a special email box established to receive misdirected emails. The USA.gov CC will respond to these inquiries for you – at no cost!
  • The USA.gov CC will respond to these “misdirected” inquiries using its extensive database, and will refer the citizen to the appropriate agency with jurisdiction of the question, if necessary.
  • By forwarding these "misdirected" inquiries to the USA.gov CC for handling, your staff has more time to handle its own agency-specific responsibilities.
  • You can see how the process works in this flowchart.

Once you have your program in place, you will want to get the word out to the rest of your agency staff. Publicize the process widely, through your agency intranet site or through regular agency update messages. For example, GSA adds this short message to the bottom of its daily "GSA Update" email.
 

"POINT A CITIZEN IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Please help fellow citizens find the correct federal agency to answer their questions. Forward emails that do not relate to [your agency name] and can be answered by other federal agencies to misdirect@mail.fedinfo.gov. Do not forward spam, scams, or undeliverable messages.

Please refer misdirected telephone calls to 800-FED INFO (800-333-4636)."
 

How to Get Started

  1. Contact tonya.beres@gsa.gov (202) 501-1803 to notify GSA that you want to participate in the Misdirects Program.
  2. List the domains from which your employees will forward their misdirected emails (must be a government domain: dot-gov, dot-mil, dot-edu). For example, @gsa.gov, @si.edu, etc.
  3. Promote the mailbox address (misdirect@mail.fedinfo.gov) and its proper usage.
  4. "Proper usage" means the misdirected email:
    • must be forwarded from email addresses within your designated government domains;
    • must not be the jurisdiction of your agency (including other components within your agency);
    • must not contain attachments;
    • must not be spam, scams, or undeliverable messages.
  5. USA.gov CC's specially-trained email agents review and respond to each message. The responses either give a direct answer or furnish contact information for a source that can.
  6. We'll send a monthly report to your designated representatives, telling you how many e-mails were forwarded from your agency and answered by the USA.gov CC.

 

If you have any questions or need additional information, contact tonya.beres@gsa.gov, (202) 501-1803.

Please note: if you already forward emails to us under the older procedure, you can continue to do so. If you want to eliminate your centralized mailbox and use the new process, you can do that. If you want to start the new process but also leave your old procedure intact, you can do that too. Contact tonya.beres@gsa.gov if you want to make a change or discuss it.


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