Public satisfaction with federal Web up again

"American Customer Satisfaction Index "

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Federal Web sites continue to climb in the public’s estimation, according to the latest quarterly rankings from the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index.

The index’s newest poll of public users found that surfing on a number of federal Web sites indicates an aggregate satisfaction score of 73.5 on a scale of 100. That represents a 1.2 percent increase from last quarter and a 3.2 percent increase from the same quarter last year.

Slight improvements in Web site functions including navigation and high scores achieved by a handful of agency sites has driven the growth in satisfaction, according to analysis by Larry Freed, chief executive officer of ForeSee Results. That company co-sponsors a portion of the quarterly surveys.

The survey measured 81 government sites. Of those, 16 percent received satisfaction scores of 80 or higher.

The Social Security Administration has the two highest-ranked sites. The agency’s “Help With Medicare Prescription Drug Costs” site attained a score of 91, and its “Internet Social Security Benefits Application” achieved an 87.

Both sites show that SSA is “effectively providing very targeted information and services to a niche audience,” Freed said in prepared analysis.

However, navigation and search functions remain weak. Although navigation has improved, the poll results show that in 89 percent of measured sites, better search capabilities should be the first or second highest priority for improvements. Navigation is first or second in priority for 46 of the sites.

“Enhancements in these two areas would yield significant returns for many government sites in terms of improving satisfaction,” Freed said.

Public satisfaction with federal Web sites is an important indicator of overall agency success with the public, Freed added. “Online customer satisfaction is a critical measure of success that provides not only a score card, but a diagnosis for improvements that will increase satisfaction and further the agency’s goals across a variety of fronts,” he said.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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