E-gov satisfaction at high levels, report says

Customer get more satisfaction from interacting with government online than overall

Customer satisfaction with e-government exceeded satisfaction with overall government for the seventh year in a row in 2011, according to a new report from ForeSee research firm.

In addition, another new report from GovDelivery ranked the most popular government information shared online in 2011.

Regarding the scores on the American Customer Satisfaction Index, customer satisfaction with e-government rose slightly to 75.1 for the fourth quarter of 2011, from 75.0 from that quarter in 2010, according to ForeSee's Jan. 19 report.


Related story:

E-gov services beat offline alternatives in study


The top score on the index is 100. ForeSee collected 282,000 surveys from online website visitors in the fourth quarter of 2011. It has been compiling satisfaction scores on government websites since 2003.

Meanwhile, while e-gov scores remained high, members of the public were less satisfied with government overall in the fourth quarter, although there was a rebound from the same quarter a year before. Satisfaction with government overall increased to 66.9 in the fourth quarter of 2011, from 65. 4 during the comparable period the year before.

E-Government satisfaction surpassed that of overall government in 2004 and has remained at higher levels since then, ForeSee said in its Jan. 19 report.

“The Internet continues to be a preferred channel for customer interactions with the federal government, and citizens rate their satisfaction with websites much higher than their satisfaction with overall government,” ForeSee said.

One of the explanations for the difference in satisfaction levels is that regard for overall government may rise or fall depending on current political events and opinions, while satisfaction with e-gov tends to be more dependent on the quality of the experience online and the abilities of the federal Web masters involved.

“While citizen satisfaction with the federal government as a whole is sometimes affected by the actions of elected officials or personal beliefs, citizen satisfaction with e-government can be largely credited to federal webmasters and their support staff,” the ForeSee report said.

“When federal webmasters succeed in creating sites that meet or exceed expectations, citizens benefit in time and cost savings and the government becomes more efficient,” the report said.

The highest levels of customer satisfaction for e-gov initiatives have been reached since 2009 in the Obama administration, averaging 75.1 in the fourth quarter over the three-year period, the report continued.

By comparison, e-gov satisfaction during the final three years of the George W. Bush administration averaged 73.6 in the fourth quarter.

ForeSee credited President Obama’s .Gov Reform effort, part of the Campaign to Cut Waste, in achieving additional improvements in customer service delivery through websites, which contributed to higher satisfaction rates. The higher satisfaction rates, in turn, are likely to generate increased participation and trust in government, the report said.

In a separate report, GovDelivery examined government communications and online sharing for 500 of its government clients in 2011.

The Defense Department, IRS and FoodSafety.gov are the federal websites that shared the most information through email and social media in 2011, GovDelivery said in its Jan. 17 infographic report.

The most shared government message of the year was the IRS’ notice that the mileage reimbursement rate was increased to 55.5 cents per mile.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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