Federal Web Sites See Decline

    March 20, 2007

The public satisfaction with federal government Web sites dropped from last quarters all time high and stayed relatively unchanged over the last seven quarters. The first quarter 2007 special report on E-Government Satisfaction from the University of Michigan’s American customer satisfaction Index (ACSI) shows that customer satisfaction with federal Web sites declined 0.7 percent from last quarter to an overall score of 73.4.

Even with the drop in satisfaction, e-government faired better than the federal government, which had a score of 72.3 on the ACSI.

When comparing public sector Web sites to private sector sites, the private sector comes out on top in satisfaction. Ecommerce received a score of 80.0 while e-business scored a 76.5 on the ACSI’s 100-point scale.

"We have seen sustained satisfaction increases in the private sector e-commerce and e-business segments for the past several years which raises consumer standards for their website experiences," said Dr. Claes Fornell, Director of the National Quality Research Center and founder of the ACSI. "Clearly, e-government sites are struggling to keep up."

Two sites that the federal government runs well are SSA Help with Medicare prescription Drug Plan Costs and Internet Social Security Benefits Application, both score an 86, which leads the index.

"Many private sector websites have transformed into a Web 2.0 experience, where Rich Internet Applications and user-generated content have made the Internet a more functionally rich, responsive and user-controlled environment, resulting in citizens’ higher standards for the user experience," said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results. "Because of the unique nature of government sites, some of these Web 2.0 innovations don’t apply to the government while others have not been adopted as quickly because of budgetary and resource constraints."