Inside the new FCC consumer help center

FCC Consumer Help Center

In an effort to make the agency “more user-friendly, accessible and transparent to consumers,” the Federal Communications Commission launched a new consumer help center this past January.

The new site, powered by Zendesk, provides FCC with a full-scale, cloud-based help center and internal support ticketing system with an elegant, simple, flexible and intuitive interface.

FCC Chief Information Officer David Bray shares more on the process of getting it launched.

From start to finish, how long did it take to build?

From purchase of the technology to the launch of the platform, the process took approximately six months to complete. This process included an aggressive requirements analysis of the current processes and the development of more streamlined processes for the future. The new system dramatically modernized both internal and external processes. For example, the old process required mailing 18 different forms to consumers wanting to file a complaint, while the new system provides a user-friendly website that allows consumers to file a complaint with a few clicks.

How many people were involved?

The project was led by two members of the FCC’s IT team, who collaborated daily with other stakeholders within the FCC.

What was the development process from content development to input to design to launch?

Launching the new consumer complaints system was done using a non-traditional, agile process. We assessed the existing system, developed an eight-page requirements document with input from stakeholders, outlined implementation tasks, set a deadline, and went full steam ahead on execution, all while maintaining the flexibility to shift daily in order to address needs and issues as they came up.

What costs savings did you realize?

This new system uses the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, which embodies the FCC’s approach to IT moving forward. For systems using the traditional in-house, “on-premise” model, we received estimates of approximately $3.2 million over 1-2 years. The new system’s price tag of only $450,000 represents savings of 85 percent to taxpayers, and it was completed in less than half the time.

Read more about the new site on the FCC blog.

About Luke Fretwell

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh, co-founder/CEO of ProudCity and co-host of the podcast, The Government We Need. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or email at

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