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ACSI: e-Government Satisfaction Stagnates

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ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – Citizen satisfaction with government websites remained flat in the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index E-Government Satisfaction Index, released Tuesday in partnership with the Ann Arbor customer analytics firm ForeSee. 

Citizen satisfaction with federal government websites scored 75 on the ACSI’s 100-point scale. Satisfaction has remained at or near 75 on ACSI’s 100-point scale since 2009.

“The overall satisfaction score for e-government is fairly high, but we’re seeing the private sector continue to innovate and increase satisfaction while satisfaction with the public sector remains flat,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. “Budgets are tight and it’s hard to justify investment in technology when you have something that meets citizens’ needs. But what’s sufficient today may quickly become deficient if agencies can’t keep up with emerging technology.”

Mobile and measurement are two such innovations that are critical to government agencies, as outlined in President Obama’s May 2012 memo “Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People.” Agencies are beginning to adapt programs for mobile interfaces, and 34 percent of users surveyed who have used their mobile device to access the Internet, had used their mobile device to visit a government website.

“Growing adoption of mobile suggests that it will be an increasingly important platform for agencies,” said Dave Lewan, vice president at ForeSee and co-author of the e-government report. “When investing in development, the private sector considers all channels — mobile, online, call centers and brick and mortar — because customers do not think of companies by channel but by brand. That’s the same for the government. Agencies need to consider how they are perceived on all channels in order to manage customer expectations and increase satisfaction.”

Citizen satisfaction with federal government websites remained higher than offline government satisfaction, which scored 68.4 in the ACSI’s annual measure of the federal government, released in February. In the functional categories, e-commerce and transactional sites (up from 78 last quarter to 79) lag the private sector (81.1), but the government outperforms the private sector in e-business (portals, search engines, and news and information sites), which slid to 71.3 in a July report. Federal news and information sites score 75 and portals and department main sites score 73.

While satisfaction overall remained flat quarter over quarter, individually, some sites made big gains. The top three sites with the biggest improvements include the Federal Trade Commission’s main site (up 10 points), the General Services Administration’s govsales.gov site (up 6 points), and the National Archives Records Administration main site (up 5 points).

Search, transparency, and navigation continue to be areas that have the most impact on website satisfaction, and therefore are top priorities for improvement.

“All agencies could see a spike in satisfaction if they made the right investments,” said Claes Fornell, founder of the ACSI. “But there’s no magic formula for every site, and the only way to find out is to collect data from the people who actually use government websites and analyze it in such a way that the most important drivers of satisfaction are identified.”

Nearly 300,000 surveys were collected in the second quarter for the Index.

ForeSee continuously measures satisfaction across customer touch points and delivers critical insights on where to prioritize improvements for maximum impact. ForeSee is headquartered in Ann Arbor and can be found online at http://www.foresee.com.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the United States. The ACSI uses data from interviews with roughly 70,000 customers annually as inputs to an econometric model for measuring satisfaction with more than 230 companies in 47 industries and 10 economic sectors, as well as over 100 services, programs, and websites of federal government agencies.

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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