State Seal

P.O. Box 40002 ∑ Olympia, Washington 98504-0002 ∑ (360) 902-4111 ∑



All State Agencies and Institutions of Higher Education

FROM: Gary Locke, Governor
DATE: March 1, 2000
SUBJECT: Telephone Customer Service Goals

In an effort to continuously improve the level of service we provide to the people of our state, I am issuing this directive to clarify and define what state agencies should establish as goals for telephone customer service.

To improve telephone customer service in state agencies:

  1. Every effort should be made for all callers to be able to reach a live person during normal business hours, if the person they are calling is not available.
  2. Emergency contingency plans should be established to manage situations that cause an extraordinary increase in telephone calls.
  3. All menu driven telephone systems should provide an option to speak to a live person, except those systems specifically designed to give a recorded message only (e.g. WSDOT snow line).
  4. Every effort should be made to return all calls within 24 hours or the next business day.
  5. Voice mail greetings should be current and allow an easy means to get to a live person.
  6. Telephone book listings should be updated and easy to understand.
  7. Employees should not screen calls for the purpose of refusing to communicate with any person, unless there is a safety or legal reason to do so.
  8. Agencies should provide training to employees to continuously improve the quality of telephone customer services in state government.


It is the responsibility of all state employees to respond to citizens' calls promptly, professionally, courteously and respectfully.

All state agencies are directed to immediately begin to incorporate these standards into their office policies. These new standards shall be in effect in all state agencies by May 1, 2000.