Public satisfaction with federal services increases

None Astrid Dininno/Corbis

Americans today are happier with federal services than they were a year ago, but overall trust in government has declined, according to a new survey.

The public's satisfaction with federal services increased 2.3 percent to a score of 66.9 in 2011, after a 5 percent decrease between 2009 and 2010, the American Customer Satisfaction Index found. People's trust in Uncle Sam, however, dropped 12 percent from a score of 41 in 2010 to 36 in 2011. The index is based on a 0 to 100 point scoring scale.

Respondents in general were more pleased with experiences at specific departments than with the government overall.

"While people generally distrust federal government as a whole, they are much more positive toward the job that individual agencies are performing," said Claes Fornell, ACSI founder and author of The Satisfied Customer: Winners and Losers in the Battle for Buyer Preference (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).

"Paradoxically perhaps, these findings suggest that the more people come into contact with government service, the more they actually like it," Fornell said. "The lack of trust has much more to do with politicians than it does with federal workers and the services of the federal government."

The Michigan-based ASCI is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the United States. Data from interviews with approximately 70,000 customers annually are used to measure satisfaction with more than 225 companies in 47 industries and 10 economic sectors, along with more than 200 services, programs and the websites of approximately 130 federal government agencies.

Federal agencies that administer benefits largely received higher scores than those with a regulatory mission, the survey found. Some federal agencies, such as the National Weather Service and the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, received scores on par with the highest-rated private sector firms, including Amazon.com and FedEx, according to the report.

People were not as happy with departments such as Homeland Security and Treasury, largely due to negative impressions of and experiences with their two best-known agencies: the Transportation Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service. DHS' Office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, however, scored highly in the information and news category, and taxpayers who filed their taxes electronically were more satisfied than those who submitted paperwork.

DHS and Treasury can take solace in the fact that they scored higher than the two worst private sector companies included in the survey: Pepco Holdings and Delta Air Lines.

Despite the increase in satisfaction with federal services, the government still trails the lowest scoring private sector segment in the index. One weak spot is handling complaints, the report said. The government received a score of 44 out of 100 for its performance in handling complaints, which was only slightly better the airline industry's score of 43.

The index also found that political ideology played a role in how respondents felt about government. Respondents who identified themselves as liberal were more satisfied with and had more trust in government than those who characterized themselves as conservative.

In addition to its report on the federal government, ACSI this week released its fourth quarter 2011 report on the public's satisfaction with e-government, which received a score of 75.1 "Citizens remain considerably more satisfied when they interact with the government online than they are with their government experiences overall," said a press release accompanying the report. ACSI and customer experience analytics firm ForeSee produced the e-gov findings.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.