How Americans Feel About Gov’t Web Sites

Posted by at 10:59 am on July 28, 2009

The American Customer Satisfaction Index E-Government Satisfaction Index scores 73.6 for the second quarter, halting a drop in the first quarter that came after three consecutive quarterly gains. However, the Index didn’t manage a rebound, matching last quarter’s score, which is on a 100-point scale.

“Our research shows that online satisfaction plays a critical role in the federal government’s overall mission because it predicts the future behaviors from citizens that lead to more government efficiency,” said Larry Freed, President and CEO of ForeSee Results, sponsor of the University of Michigan’s ACSI E-Government Index. “The web is the most resource-efficient channel available to government, so it is imperative for federal agencies to optimize performance to encourage further adoption of the web channel.”

Citizens who are highly satisfied with a federal government website are 86% more likely to use the website as a primary resource, as opposed to other more costly channels. Also, they are 83% more likely to recommend the website, and 55% more likely to return to it when compared to citizens who are less satisfied with the website.

Of the four major categories of federal government websites, which also include portals/department main sites, news/information, and career/recruitment, e-commerce/transaction sites have been the best performing for the last year.

According to the report, although individual sites vary, top priorities for e-gov sites overall are improving site functionality and navigation. If government websites make improvements to these high-priority areas, customer satisfaction can be expected to improve significantly, which leads to a greater likelihood to return to the site, recommend it, and use it as the primary channel for interaction with the agency or department.

“The value of measuring satisfaction is in its ability to predict future behaviors and act as a comparative benchmark,” said Prof. Claes Fornell of the University of Michigan and founder of ACSI. “Though e-gov remains near its all-time high, it continues to lag the private sector significantly, suggesting that there is much room for improvement if e-gov is to realize its potential increase government efficiency.”

In addition to reporting aggregate findings, the quarterly ACSI E-Gov Index rates 109 individual federal government websites in terms of how well they are satisfying citizens and driving government efficiency and effectiveness. To see more of the quarterly Index and another report released today that quantifies the relationship between online transparency, satisfaction, trust, participation, and collaboration, please visit

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