Mobile Offers Means For Government Agencies To Increase Web Satisfaction

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ANN ARBOR — Nearly one in three visitors to federal government Web sites are accessing those sites via a mobile phone or tablet, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index E-Government Satisfaction Index, released Monday in partnership with the Ann Arbor customer experience analytics firm ForeSee.

This report is the second to look at how citizens interact with government via mobile devices or tablets and provides best practices for mobile development based on existing government apps and mobile websites.

“Agencies are beginning to realize the importance of providing a good mobile experience and these projects are backed by executive-level initiatives,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. “The White House’s Digital Government initiative calls for agencies to do mobile right from the beginning. The only way to do that is to ensure the mobile experience is built around citizen’s expectations.”

Satisfaction with federal government Web sites remained steady at 75.1 on the study’s 100-point scale. Citizen satisfaction has remained at or above 75 for 14 of the last 15 quarters indicating that agencies need to continue their investment in improving the web experience in order to meet evolving expectations and increase satisfaction over time.

The report looks at priorities for improvement, which are Web site elements that would have the biggest impact on satisfaction if improved.  While different for every site, most sites measured would see an increase in satisfaction by improving search, functionality, and transparency.

“It’s important for agencies to stay on top of evolving technology needs in order to provide citizens with information and services in a way that best meets their demands,” said Dave Lewan, vice president at ForeSee and co-author of the e-government report. “There are incentives for agencies to do so. Not only because web and mobile interactions steer people away from costlier channels like call centers, but also because our report shows that high satisfaction leads to positive future behaviors like increased recommendations, trust, and participation.”

When compared to dissatisfied citizens, highly satisfied citizens are 88 percent more likely to use the federal website as a primary resource, 88 percent more likely to recommend the site, 65 percent more likely to trust the agency, and 52 percent more likely to return to the site.   “As the government begins to invest more in mobile, the most important thing for agencies to take away is that mobile apps and websites should be built around their customers’ expectations,” said Lewan. “Different government agencies serve different audiences and there’s not one solution that will meet all needs, but by listening to what their citizens want, government agencies can be successful in the mobile space.”

“Whether mobile, online, or in-person, agencies should strive to provide a consistent experience across all channels,” said Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI. “Citizens do not think of agencies by channels, so a good experience online or through their mobile device will ultimately impact their satisfaction with the agency as a whole.”   In the first quarter 2013 report, 103 federal government Web sites are measured. A full set of scores and analysis can be found at www.ForeSee.com.

The ACSI uses data from interviews of roughly 70,000 customers annually as inputs to an econometric model for measuring satisfaction with more than 230 companies in 43 industries and 10 economic sectors, as well as over 100 services, programs and websites of federal government agencies.

ACSI results are released on a monthly basis, and all measures are reported using a scale of 0 to 100. ACSI data have proven to be strongly related to a number of essential indicators of micro and macroeconomic performance. For example, firms with higher levels of customer satisfaction tend to have higher earnings and stock returns relative to that of their competitors. Stock portfolios based on companies that show strong performance in ACSI deliver excess returns in both up and down markets. And, at the macro level, customer satisfaction has been shown to be predictive of both consumer spending and gross domestic product growth.

The Index was founded at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and is produced by ACSI, LLC and supported in part by ForeSee, corporate sponsor for the e-commerce, e-business, and e-government measurements.

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