Each year a survey is published quarterly called The American Customer Satisfaction Index; it was started by researchers at the University of Michigan, in conjunction with the American Society for Quality in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and CFI Group in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The first index was published in October 1994. The survey provides information on customer satisfaction with the quality of products and services available in the United States.
It is the only broad based measure of customer satisfaction in America. It gives businesses insight into how they compare with others in serving the customer and overall customer satisfaction. The unique thing about this survey is that it also rates the government service they provide us. The people’s satisfaction with the services provided by the federal government has declined for the third consecutive year. It was at a score of 63.9 on a 0 to 100 scale
American citizens are less satisfied with federal services this year than last. There were some bright spots as Citizens found information received from agencies to be clearer and more accessible compared with a year ago. User perceptions of website quality (ease and usefulness) are unchanged year-over-year.
As in prior years of ACSI measurement, both federal and local government services score far below every private economic sector in user satisfaction. Durable products lead the way with an ACSI benchmark of 79—a full 15 points higher than both local and federal government (64).
Some parts of the government score fairly well; the Department of the Interior (75), the Department of State (71), and the Department of Defense (70) lead in satisfaction for 2015. All three score well above the average for the entire federal government with 63.9. They are near the national average for all public and private industries of 73.8.
The highest scoring was the Interior Department which runs the National Park Service, which maintains 400 parks and areas visited by nearly 300 million people each year. Also scoring high was the State Department and Defense Department.
The least satisfying departments this year are Veterans Affairs (60), Justice (59), and Treasury (55). The Department of the Treasury of course runs the Internal Revenue Service which is not favored by anyone paying taxes. However, their e-filing is popular but the paperwork side of filing is pulling them down.
The shame brought by the Department of Veterans Affairs comes from their delivery of health services to our veterans. Their treatment of veterans is to blame for their low scores and at the rate they are going this will continue unless new people are brought in to clean out and then run the department.
There are some small success stories for the federal government. Retirees give their experiences with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) an exceptionally high mark of 91. But this is expected since all you get from them is a check each month. Another success is the Small Business Administration’s Office of Disaster Assistance which received a score of 83 from renters and 81 from home owners. People applying online for federal student aid; give the Education Department’s program a score of 82. Free money always works to your advantage.
How does all this compare with the private sector businesses? The best at giving customers satisfaction are Amazon, Nordstrom and Chick-fil-A at an 86. Government is at 63.9. That is a disgraceful 22 point difference and the government was created to serve us. Today some politicians are proposing that the federal government takeover more of our economy. What do you think that will get us?