E-gov makes customers happy
- By William Matthews
- Dec 25, 2000
Government-wide Customer Satisfaction ? Results of the 2000 Survey
A federal customer satisfaction survey reveals that students and parents
are delighted to be able to apply for education loans online.
Taxpayers, ordinarily surly, report much greater satisfaction now that
they can file their returns online instead of on paper.
And travelers are praising a State Department service that enables them
apply for passports online.
The Internet and e-government are helping boost "customer" satisfaction
with several federal agencies, according to a survey that questioned 8,179 Americans about 100 different government services.
Overall, federal agencies earned a 68.6 satisfaction rating out of a
possible 100. That compares with a 71.2 rating earned by private industry.
Satisfaction with Internet-based companies range from a 56 earned by America
Online to 84 for Amazon.com Inc.
The government's customer satisfaction rate for 2000 was the same as
its rate for 1999, while satisfaction with the private sector dropped slightly,
from 71.9, according to the National Partnership for Reinventing Government,
which commissioned the survey.
"It is clear from comments and feedback that those agencies which use
electronic government and the Internet as part of their strategy to provide
services score better," said NPR Director Morley Winograd. "The best example
is the IRS," where taxpayers who file returns electronically rate their
satisfaction 30 points higher than those who file on paper, he said.
Satisfaction with the Office of Student Financial Assistance program
jumped seven points in a year to 70.0 partly as a result of allowing
for more online loan applications, he said.
But Internet services were just some of many elements that contribute
to or detract from customers' satisfaction with government services.
Courtesy and professionalism of government employees, cleanliness of federal
facilities and prompt delivery of services also count.
And not all the marks earned by the Internet were positive. Survey participants
said government Web site organization needs improvement.
Agency Webmasters, who might have been inclined to "just dump information
on the site, now realize they have to make the information more findable,"
an NPR official said.
Overall, federal Web sites earned a 7.5 rating on a scale up to 10.