Federal portals see continued customer satisfaction: ACSI report

Customer satisfaction with government Web sites increased once again last quarter, although there is still need for improvement, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).

The ASCI revealed citizen satisfaction with federal Web sites improved slightly this quarter, moving up 1.2 percent to an aggregate score of 73.5. This increase marks a 3.2 percent improvement from September 2004.

Thirteen federal Web sites achieved satisfaction scores of 80 or higher — a figure ACSI considers superior — while four Web sites received ratings below 60, the ACSI report said.

The report is based on a quarterly performance survey conducted by the American Society for Quality in conjunction with the University of Michigan, CFI Group and ForeSee Results of Ann Arbor, Mich. Participation by government agencies is voluntary.

In particular, two portals operated by the Social Security Administration (SSA) received the highest scores. SSA’s Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Costs and Internet Social Security Benefits Application Web sites “show that the Social Security Administration is effectively providing very targeted information and services to a niche audience—people at or approaching retirement age and their family members,” the report said. The SSA sites received scores of 91 and 87, respectively.

Ten sites operated by the National Institutes of Health received scores of 80 or higher, the report added.

Portals earning scores lower than 60 included the General Services Administration’s E-library (58); the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (57); the National Archives and Records Administration’s Access to Archival Databases (56); and the Military Health System, Defense (55).

Although the scores overall are encouraging, navigation and search functions on federal portals are still problematic, the report said. “[E]nhancements in these two areas would yield significant returns for many government sites in terms of improving satisfaction and behavior,” the report concluded.

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