E-gov satisfaction leads the way

American Customer Satisfaction Index

E-government outpaced off-line government and the private sector in a recent survey of customer satisfaction.

ForeSee Results Inc. released a report Dec. 16 in a section of the University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index that showed e-government had an average score of 73.5 (on scale from 0 to 100), placing it ahead of the overall off-line government customer satisfaction average (70.2) and the overall private-sector ACSI score (73.1).

"The measurement is done in terms of satisfaction, not the number of hits a site receives," said Larry Freed, president and chief executive officer of ForeSee, a Michigan-based company that specializes in online customer satisfaction management and is accountable for releasing the report. "These sites are doing a good job in meeting the needs of customers, which are usually citizens."

Freed noted that government Web sites have benefits for agencies as well as citizens.

"E-gov provides a lower cost for the delivery of information, there is a higher level of consistency of information, and the citizen chooses a convenient hour to do business, not the agency," Freed said. "Overall, the Web sites are citizen-centric."

Government sites outperformed all of the ACSI e-business indices, including news and information sites (73), search engines (68), portals (68), and the overall e-business sector (68.7).

The score of 68 for search engines is a little below average, Freed said.

E-government sites that were measured in the index include the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Women's Health (80), the State Department in three areas (76, 73, 72), NASA (74), and the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Public Health and Science (72).

ACSI releases a report on different sectors of the government once a year. The federal government Web information will be measured in the second quarter and reported in December annually.

Caterinicchia is a reporting intern for Federal Computer Week.

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