The federal government remains the lowest rated economic sector in the country, despite two consecutive years of improved ratings, according to a new report.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index survey found approval of federal government services rose 2.2 percent to a score of 68.4 out of 100. The score ranked 10th out of 10 sectors, 3.5 points behind the information sector.
ACSI pointed to the private sector’s focus on customer service as an explanation for the continued gap. Additionally, the federal government often does not have competition for the services it provides, so it may lack motivation to offer “high-quality services.”
Since 2010, however, satisfaction with the federal government has climbed nearly 5 percent. ACSI attributed this improvement to the quality of government websites and the growing proportion of citizens who interact with government online.
Those who engaged a federal entity last year through a website or email gave an indexed satisfaction score of 67 and 66, respectively. Those who use phone or mail gave scores of 65 and 62, respectively. In-person visits received the highest score at 71, but they are infrequent, according to ACSI.
Citizens approve individual departments much more highly than federal government as a whole. Respondents gave government a score of 43 out of 100, while the average agency received a score of 71. The Interior and Defense departments scored the highest satisfaction ratings, while the Homeland Security and Treasury departments scored the lowest.ACSI -- founded at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business -- surveys about 70,000 people annually to create economic indicators of customer evaluations.