Government call centers ring true to customers

Annual survey finds agencies are closing the gap with commercial centers

Government call centers are getting better at handling the volume of calls from the public, according to a new survey by the CFI Group and the Federal Consulting Group.

Overall satisfaction with government calls centers rose from a score of 64 in 2009 to 69 (out of 100) this year, according to the Government Contact Center Satisfaction Index 2010. That 8 percent increase is a significant one-year jump, according to a CFI release. Satisfaction scores for private-sector centers increased only 3 percent, although they still lead government centers with a score of 77.

The study included state, local and federal agencies and is modeled on the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which rates satisfaction with a wide range of products, from beer and soda to government websites.

In addition to their customer satisfaction rating, government agencies scored a 71 for overall satisfaction and a 69 compared to expectations. Perhaps because people’s satisfaction with the centers matched what they expected, call centers received a 91 rating on whether people would continue to contact the centers.

A key to customer satisfaction is how quickly a request or complaint is resolved. The study found that 51 percent of callers had their issues resolved with one call, and another 19 percent finished their business in two calls. However, that leaves 30 percent who needed three or more calls, including 9 percent who said their issue still had not been resolved.

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