There are a number of fundamental problems I have with ForSee Results issuing quarterly citizen satisfaction reports of federal government Websites.
Here are a few:
- In general, I don’t think the reports add value to the government Web community and, if anything, are misleading, because there’s not enough information provided to glean anything helpful for best practices or lessons learned. For the most part they’re a brilliant public relations strategy, especially when nearly every Beltway media company picks up the story.
- They are a federal government vendor and are less likely to release less-than-positive results about an agency’s Web practices.
- They are opportunistically leveraging their brand/logo on federal government Websites that gives these reports a misleading level of credibility.
While the reports differ on numbers, most of it positive and general, the press releases come to the same conclusions.
Although the private sector scores better, on average, than federal websites, the best-scoring federal websites outperform the best-scoring private-sector websites.
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.
Wow. Almost verbatim.
Even the referenced expert in each is the same, with nearly the same comments.
“Not only must the government do a better job satisfying citizens, but it will likely have to do so with fewer resources in the years ahead,” said Professor Claes Fornell, head of the ACSI and author of The Satisfied Customer. “High unemployment, declining tax receipts and growing deficits are stretching government budgets thin. Much like private sector companies during the recession of 2008 and 2009, government must find innovative ways to provide better service with less.”
“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.”
I’d elaborate if I had more time, but I don’t. Rather than rant, here are some productive, constructive next steps for ForSee Results and their federal government clients:
- Open up the raw data of the surveys for others to evaluate and make their own conclusions.
- Remove your logo from the .gov pop-ups requesting customer feedback.
- Stop issuing rinse/repeat press releases and meaningless reports that serve only to get public relations (although it’s a brilliant strategy).
- Don’t make me fill out a form to access this information. As a taxpayer, I’ve already paid for it.
That’s my citizen feedback. I hope ForSee and its government clients listen.
If not, we may just have to issue a quarterly rant.