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Survey: Federal Government Customer Service Improves but Remains Low

The percentage of Americans who are very satisfied with federal government customer service rose to 31 percent from 2010’s 7 percent.

by / August 29, 2011

Only 31 percent of Americans are very satisfied with federal government customer service, according to a new study from government IT network MeriTalk.

The second annual study, Uncle Sam at Your Service: The 2011 Federal Customer Experience Study — released Monday, Aug. 29, and underwritten by RightNow, a company that assists government agencies with cloud computing — surveyed 1,000 Americans in July to find out current customer service perceptions, identify best practices in the public and private sectors, and offer recommendations to agencies, according to the study.

President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13571 in April, requiring federal government agencies to improve their customer service and streamline service delivery.

According to the study, 31 percent of those surveyed are very satisfied with federal government customer service. While still a low percentage, the study saw a 24 percent increase from 2010’s survey results.

Those surveyed said the biggest improvements are in agency responsiveness and information consistency. Satisfaction for agency responsiveness jumped from last year’s 27 percent to 39 percent, while information consistency satisfaction increased from 24 to 35 percent.

Although 39 percent of those surveyed are very satisfied with the responsiveness of “typical” agencies, the “best” federal agencies satisfied 63 percent of respondents. Respondents said the IRS and Social Security Administration were the top-performing agencies in customer service.

But overall, 79 percent of those surveyed believe improvements can be made at the federal government level.

In the study, 45 percent of respondents said federal agencies should make search options simpler for figuring out where to go for an answer.

Respondents said another key component for improving federal agencies is to optimize customer data. According to the study, 91 percent of respondents want the federal government to store their personal information only once, and 39 percent are open to letting the federal government store some of their private information if it meant agency customer service would improve.

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