ACSI E-Government Report Links Good
Federal Websites with Cost Savings
and Better Democracy

ForeSee Results Says High Satisfaction Increases E-Gov Usage, Trust, and Participation

Ann Arbor, Mich. (April 26, 2011) — ForeSee Results today issued its quarterly report on the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s (ACSI) E-Government Satisfaction Index, which indicates that good federal government websites save the government money and foster democracy.

The research quantifies a direct cause-and-effect relationship between highly satisfied citizens and cost savings for the government. Highly satisfied visitors to federal government websites save the federal government money by using the web channel as their primary means to interact with the government as opposed to costlier channels like call centers, mail, and brick-and-mortar customer service centers. Some estimates indicate that the federal government could save hundreds of millions of dollars on postage alone by right-channeling citizens to websites.

When compared to those who are dissatisfied, highly satisfied website visitors report being:

  • 80% more likely to return to the website;
  • 79% more likely to recommend it to others; and
  • 50% more likely to use it as their primary resource above other, more costly channels.

These percentages are based on likelihood score differences between highly satisfied and dissatisfied
site visitors.

Those highly satisfied citizens also report being 45% more likely to participate with government and report 59% higher trust in the government entity being measured. These are some of the desired results of the Open Government Initiative.

“If citizens find using the web comfortable, easy, and convenient, it cuts costs through reduced paperwork, call-center overhead, fees, facilities, and time,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results. “A smart investment in e-government can and should be the solution to budget deficits, since these are the programs that end up reducing costs for the government in both the short run and the long run.”

The E-Government Satisfaction Index is released two weeks after Congress narrowly averted a government shutdown by making cuts to many government programs, including reducing the E-Government Fund from a proposed $34 million to $8 million. While this may be a roadblock for some agencies, the report shows how federal government agencies with limited budgets can prioritize improvements in order to get the best return on investment. For most federal government websites, functionality and transparency are the elements that are most important in driving satisfaction, though specifics differ from website to website.

“As private sector sites continue to innovate and improve, user expectations will increase across the board, said Professor Claes Fornell, head of the ACSI and author of The Satisfied Customer.  Satisfaction with e-gov is near an all-time high, but with trimmed resources it will be more difficult for government agencies to maintain a successful web presence.  Increased use of government web sites should be encouraged if for no other reason than because it brings down cost in just about everything government does. For this, high user satisfaction is going to be critical.”

At 75 on the ACSI’s 100-point scale, satisfaction with federal websites continues to outperform satisfaction with the federal government overall (65.4). Private-sector websites score better, on average, than federal websites, but the best-scoring federal websites outperform the best-scoring private-sector websites, including Amazon, Netflix, and Google.

More than 330,000 surveys were conducted during the first quarter of 2011 alone. There are 110 sites included in the Index this quarter. Today’s report also contains transparency scores for 31 federal websites who have made quantifying citizen perceptions of transparency a priority.

A full list of individual website scores along with more discussion of trends is available in the Q1 2011 ACSI E-Government Satisfaction Index, available for free download on the ForeSee Results website.

About ForeSee Results

As the leader in customer satisfaction measurement, ForeSee Results captures and analyzes voice-of-customer data to help both private-sector and public-sector organizations increase loyalty, recommendations and marketing value. Using the methodology of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), ForeSee Results identifies improvements across all channels and touch points that drive satisfaction. With over 60 million survey responses collected to date and benchmarks across dozens of industries, ForeSee Results offers unparalleled expertise in citizen satisfaction measurement and management for the federal government.

ForeSee Results, a privately held company, is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and on the web at www.ForeSeeResults.com. Connect with ForeSee Results at www.ForeSeeResults.com/connect.html.

About ACSI

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is the only uniform, national, cross-industry measure of satisfaction with the quality of goods and services available in the United States. In 1999, the federal government selected ACSI to be a standard metric for measuring citizen satisfaction. Over 100 Federal government agencies have used ACSI to measure citizen satisfaction with more than 200 services and programs.  The Index was founded at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and is produced by ACSI, LLC. ForeSee Results sponsors the e-government index.

About the Federal Consulting Group

The Federal Consulting Group (FCG) operates as a fee-for-service franchise in the National Business Center (Dept. of the Interior) and serves as the executive agent in the government for the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The Federal Consulting Group uses a generic clearance from the Office of Management and Budget to obtain expedited approval of ACSI surveys as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act. This enables agencies to conduct ACSI surveys without obtaining a separate clearance. Agencies can assess and improve programs, call centers and websites using the ACSI methodology through an Interagency Agreement with the Federal Consulting Group.