Despite measurably low approval ratings for both Congress and the president, American citizens are primarily satisfied with the services the government provides them, according to a recent American Customer Satisfaction Index report.
Americans were 2.5 percent more satisfied with government-provided services in 2017 than they were the previous year, bringing the total satisfaction to 69.7 out of 100. The score constitutes an 11-year high in satisfaction scores for the federal government, and continues the reversal of a downward trend ending in 2015. The higher score also coincides with recent increases in federal employee satisfaction with their work environments.
“There is no correlation between the president’s approval ratings and citizen satisfaction with government services,” reinforced Claes Fornell, ACSI founder and chairman.
Democrats were the most satisfied with government services, rating them a 73 out of 100, while respondents identifying as independents and “other party” were least satisfied at 65 out of 100.
Among federal agencies, the Justice, Interior and Defense Departments received the highest scores, while Treasury and Housing and Urban Development received the lowest.
According to the report, because Treasury includes the Internal Revenue Service, its low score is not unusual, though Republicans’ prediction that their new tax law will simplify filing has the potential to change Treasury’s scores in the future.
ACSI measured four primary drivers of satisfaction — process, information, customer service and website — to determine the overall citizen opinion of federal government services.
“These drivers are core generic aspects of most federal government services that influence citizen satisfaction. Among the four attributes, three improve to reach three-year highs in 2017,” the report said.
“Only one driver — the courtesy and professionalism of customer service personnel — declines slightly (down 1 percent to 77). The timeliness and efficiency of government processes (such as completing required forms, applying for benefits, or receiving a response to an application) shows the largest gain (+3 percent to 72), but stays the lowest-scoring of the four attributes.”
Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.