Why citizen satisfaction matters to the digital government

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U.S. citizens are fairly satisfied with federal websites and with their interactions with government via mobile devices, according to a new report from a customer experience analytics firm.

ForeSee’s quarterly ACSI E-Government Satisfaction Index, released April 23, examines citizen satisfaction and provides best practices based on existing government mobile apps.

“The White House’s digital government initiative calls for agencies to do mobile right from the beginning,” Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee, said in a statement. “The only way to do that is to ensure the mobile experience is built around citizens’ expectations.”

Satisfaction, ranked on a scale from one to 100, is slightly up this quarter from 75 at the end of 2012 to 75.1 for the first quarter of 2013. E-government outranks the federal government as a whole in satisfaction, scoring a 75.1 in citizen satisfaction as compared to the 68.4 the overall federal government received in 2012.

The Social Security Administration’s Retirement Estimator remains the highest ranked with a 91, followed by its iClaim at 90. SSA’s estimator, which approximates a person’s retirement based on his or her social security earnings record, and iClaim system, which simplifies and automates the processing of retirement applications, have consistently received above average, positive consumer feedback.

Why is measuring citizen satisfaction important? Americans consistently prefer to interact with their government over the Internet. Citizens who are satisfied with their online interactions are 65 percent more likely to trust the agency, 52 percent more likely to return to the agency’s website and 50 percent more likely to interact with the agency in the future. Similarly, they are 88 percent more likely to use the website they evaluated as a primary resource ,and 88 percent more likely to recommend the site.

The federal government as a whole is also moving toward a more citizen-centric approach to e-government. Last year, the White House released the Digital Government Strategy, which sets aggressive targets to improve the e-government experience. The deadline for some of these targets is May 23.

The bottom line is: Everyone is going mobile. Smartphone and tablet use is increasing exponentially. A recent report by ComScore showed at the end of 2012, nearly 126 million Americans owned smartphones. Pew Research also showed 25 percent of the adult population owned a tablet in August of 2012. This number increased a record 32 percent between January and August 2012.

The overall idea is that by making the mobile experience more satisfying for the consumer, agencies can better engage the American populous and increase the likelihood for future engagement.

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Government IT News, White House
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