E-gov services beat offline alternatives on satisfaction study
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Jan 25, 2011
Satisfaction with e-government is remaining near historic highs and
several federal websites are surpassing private sector websites in their
scores, according to a new fourth-quarter 2010 study released today by
Overall, satisfaction with 111 federal websites scored an average of
75 on the 100-point American Customer Satisfaction index. The overall
score has been rising steadily since 2003 and hovering at or near 75
since the third quarter of 2009. The all-time high was 75.3 in the third
quarter of 2010.
In comparison, overall satisfaction with federal services dropped
from 70.2 percent in 2009 to 65.4 percent in 2010. People
"overwhelmingly prefer to engage the government online" in comparison to
other channels, the study states.
“E-government remains the bright spot in an otherwise challenging
landscape,” wrote Larry Freed, president of Foresee, author of the
report. “The importance of e-government cannot be understated. More and
more, citizens turn to the web as a starting point when they need to
engage the federal government.”
“Satisfaction with federal websites far outshines satisfaction with
the overall government, showing that e-gov investments over the last
couple of years have paid off,” Freed said.
The highest scores for the fourth quarter of 2010 were earned by
three websites run by the Social Security Administration. They include
the SSA’s retirement estimator, scoring 90; iClaim, also 90, and SSA’s
Medicare assistance site, 88. Their scores each were higher than the
highest-scoring private website, Netflix, with a score of 87.
For federal portal websites, the top performers included the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration main website, 85; U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services (Spanish version), 85; National
Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 84;
GobiernoUSA, 83; NASA primary website, 83; National Cancer Institute
main website, 82; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention primary
website, 81; and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services main website,
Overall, larger numbers of federal websites are scoring 80 and above
on the satisfaction scale, which is considered superior. In 2003, when
ForeSee first started doing the measuring, only one of 22 federal
websites scored above 80. In the fourth quarter of 2010, 33 out of 111
federal websites scored 80 or above.
The report was based on 275,000 surveys collected in the fourth quarter. ForeSee has been performing the studies since 2003.
Other findings include:
- People who are highly satisfied with a federal website are 59
percent more likely to trust the agency and 58 percent more likely to
participate and express their opinions. High satisfaction increases the
likelihood of recommending the site, returning to it or using it as a
- Website search, functionality and transparency are top priorities for improvement.
- E-government must be prepared to respond to more “digital natives”
who grew up on the Web. Their high expectations of e-government may put
pressure on satisfaction.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.