Survey says people prefer online federal customer service

Online service pleases customers 63 percent of the time versus 45 percent for phones

People who deal with federal agencies online are significantly more satisfied with the customer service they receive than are those who interact by phone, according to a survey released today by MeriTalk, an online government information technology community.

The survey was based on interviews with 1,000 people and was funded by MeriTalk and RightNow Technologies, a vendor of customer experience management solutions.

The services people sought online and via phone included applying for federal student aid or disaster relief and getting information about taxes and airport security.


Related stories

Report says three federal sites have top customer satisfaction

Report says Congress needs lots of help with Web sites


Sixty-three percent of those who used agency Web sites had a positive experience, while only 45 percent of those who used phones had a positive experience, the study found.

“Agencies offer self-service options via both phone and Web, and Americans use them with equal frequency,” the report states. "Those using the Web, however, are significantly more satisfied."

Eighty-five percent of the survey respondents said federal agencies ought to provide more information and make more services available online.

“A majority of citizens leverage the Web as their first channel to find information from agencies to address a variety of interests and questions,” said Kevin Paschuck, public-sector vice president at RightNow.

Among the survey's other findings:

  • Eighty-three percent of respondents said federal agencies can improve customer service.
  • Forty-two percent said they would pay $10 each per year for better government service.
  • Forty percent said poor staff training is the greatest barrier to service.
  • Thirty-eight percent said lack of communication is the greatest barrier to service.

About the Author

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

Featured

  • Telecommunications
    Stock photo ID: 658810513 By asharkyu

    GSA extends EIS deadline to 2023

    Agencies are getting up to three more years on existing telecom contracts before having to shift to the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions vehicle.

  • Workforce
    Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen

    OMB looks to retrain feds to fill cyber needs

    The federal government is taking steps to fill high-demand, skills-gap positions in tech by retraining employees already working within agencies without a cyber or IT background.

  • Acquisition
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA to consolidate multiple award schedules

    The General Services Administration plans to consolidate dozens of its buying schedules across product areas including IT and services to reduce duplication.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.