ANN ARBOR (WWJ) — Private sector contact centers are lagging behind a surprising entity — the government — when it comes to satisfaction, according to a new study by CFI Group, the Ann Arbor-based customer satisfaction and technology analytics firm.

The Mid-Year 2013 Government Contact Center Satisfaction Index found an overall increase when evaluating key government agencies, while private sector contact center scores dropped more than 5 percent.

In its sixth year, the study found a three-percent benchmark increase to 74 on a 100 point scale for government contact centers. The overall benchmark beats that of private contact centers, which experienced a significant drop to 73 on a 100 point scale.

The survey noted an increased use of alternate contact methods for government outreach, with nearly 40 percent using email, social media and other non-phone approaches. Conversely, 73 percent of those reaching out to private sector contact centers still rely on traditional phone calls.

The overall satisfaction shift comes on the heels of the Budget Control Act of 2011, largely referred to as sequestration — a government move that was anticipated to have a negative effect across functions including contact center service. The Mid-Year 2013 GCCSI is the first to examine the impact of sequestration on interactions between citizens and government agencies.

Despite only 58 percent of respondents noting awareness of sequestration, there was a marked decrease in contact center satisfaction among those respondents, with 33 percent rating sequestration as having a negative impact on their contact center experience. However, 67 percent indicated it did not negatively affect their interactions with key government agencies.

“While government budget cuts did affect a segment of respondents, government workers ultimately stood up to the challenge of satisfying citizens in spite of resource cuts,” said Sheri Petras, CEO of CFI Group.

The survey found the largest jump in call focus to be centered on asking questions about a policy, rule or regulation, at nearly 50 percent of all calls versus 34 percent in 2012.

The GCCSI focused on agencies citizens are most likely to interact with, including the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service, Department of Veteran Affairs, Department of Education and State or Local Governments. The biggest gains were noted in the Department of Veteran Affairs and the State or Local Government categories, each of which increased five points.

At a time where customer empowerment is at an all-time high, measuring and understanding drivers of customer experience has never been more important. CFI Group offers a variety of services and tools to help business understand these metrics and make informed decisions, positively impacting financial performance. To learn more, please visit:

CFI Group provides a technology platform that uses the American Customer Satisfaction Index, developed at the University of Michigan, to measure the customer experience across multiple channels, benchmark performance, and prioritize improvements for maximum impact.

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