Citizens more satisfied with e-gov than government overall — report

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American citizens continue to be more satisfied in their digital interactions with the federal government than they are with the feds overall, according to a new analysis published Wednesday.

ForeSee’s E-Government Satisfaction Index for the fourth quarter of 2015 — the 50th consecutive quarter the customer experience analytics company has compiled such as report — shows that citizens’ satisfaction with the federal government’s digital enterprises exceeds their overall satisfaction with the government by 11 points.

The federal government as a whole scored 75 in e-government satisfaction in the Foresee analysis. But that compares to an overall satisfaction score of 64 in a separate 2015 report by ASCI, another customer service analytics company.

This trend has been going on for the better part of a decade, Dave Lewan, vice president of ForeSee and the report’s author, told FedScoop. While citizens’ satisfaction with the federal government has been up and (mostly) down since 2007, they’ve remained fairly happy with its digital properties, made evident by a gradual five-point increase since ForeSee’s first measure of e-government satisfaction in 2003.

“For years ForeSee data has revealed that citizens want to access data through digital channels,” Lewan said, pointing to convenience and consistency of communications and services as key contributors to agencies’ digital success.

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A comparison of ForeSee’s data on e-government satisfaction and ASCI’s data on overall government satisfaction since 2007. (ForeSee)

Lewan said it’s a win-win for government because these digital services, after initial investment, lower the cost to serve Americans.

“Overall, delivering a great digital experience is a win for government and those they serve,” he said. “It’s been going on for a long time and agency managers are meeting the challenge. While satisfaction with government services overall has declined, websites have delivered a significantly better experience.”

“The results have been nothing short of stunning: e-government is fulfilling its potential better than anyone could have hoped,” the 50th report says.

[Read more: Social Security websites score big on new e-gov analysis]

“Despite complaints about the federal government, federal websites give citizens the ability to get information, participate, and collaborate with the government with transparency and ease that is constantly improving. Satisfaction with websites rivals that of the private sector, and the best federal websites outperform the best private-sector websites, despite limited resources and bureaucratic challenges that should make the pace of change slow and difficult.”

Yes, that’s correct: Americans are more satisfied with the best federal websites — the Social Security Administration annually tops ForeSee’s index with multiple domains near or above scores of 90 — than Amazon.com and Google, which scored 86 and 78 respectively.

The federal government, however, is a big, federated enterprise — there are plenty of bad apples out there, too. Websites like the Depart of Veterans Affairs main website, the General Service Administration’s main website and the Labor Department’s disability website score in the low 60s or below.

ForeSee’s index is based on more than 185,000 responses from users prompted to give their opinions while visiting federal websites.

Contact the reporter on this story via email at Billy.Mitchell@FedScoop.com or follow him on Twitter @BillyMitchell89. Subscribe to the Daily Scoop to get all the federal IT news you need in your inbox every morning at fdscp.com/sign-me-on.

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Agencies, Citizen Services, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Departments, General Services Administration (GSA), Government IT News, Social Security Administration
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