In April, 2011, President Obama issued General Order 13571, “Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service,” part of the Campaign to Cut Waste. It requires federal agencies to save taxpayers money and time by eliminating or consolidating redundant websites and improving outdated, difficult to use, or poorly maintained sites.
Based on lessons learned from actions outlined in Executive Order 13571, each federal agency was directed to develop a comprehensive Web Improvement Plan to help streamline their web operations and improve customer service.
Howard Merkel, who works with me here at ForeSee on the federal government team and Marianne Klinker, the social media specialist here at ForeSee, noticed how many of the Web Improvement plans mention ForeSee and the work that we do with federal agencies. It is pretty cool to see them all in one place, so I wanted to share some of them.
- “Improving the web experience for users is a top priority of the web strategy project that is underway. To establish a baseline, we have implemented the Foresee survey . . . both internally and externally, to assess how well our websites meet user expectations and needs. We use those results to guide our improvements to the customer experience. –Department of Transportation Web Improvement Plan
- “GSA.gov, USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov customers are surveyed on the websites using the ACSI survey to benchmark satisfaction on our sites against other government and commercial sites.” – General Services Administration Web Improvement Plan
- “SBA utilizes the ACSI Customer Satisfaction Survey and regularly analyzes the results and areas for further analysis to enhance the online experience across key elements, including search, functionality, navigation, look-and-feel, content, etc.” – Small Business Administration Web Improvement Plan
- “Commerce operating units use a variety of tools to measure customer satisfaction . . . We also employ tools that follow the American Customer Satisfaction Index methodology for surveys such as ForeSee.” – Department of Commerce Web Improvement Plan
- “The NRC uses a web measurement survey to enable site visitors to share feedback regarding their experience with our site, in a manner consistent with the American Customer Satisfaction Index. This standardized approach allows the NRC’s site performance to be objectively benchmarked against that of other Federal agencies and private industry. We use this feedback to assess and inform our continuous incremental improvements.” – Nuclear Regulatory Commission Web Improvement Plan
- SSA uses the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) surveys to measure customer/users satisfaction, and to predict future behaviors and trends. ACSI uses a proven, scientific methodology to measure online satisfaction. The data is analyzed and used to help drive decisions on how to improve SSA’s online services.” – Social Security Administration Web Improvement Plan
Citizen satisfaction should be one of several critical components that agencies use when deciding how to streamline content and make federal websites more efficient. And, clearly, it is one of those components, judging by how often it is mentioned as a critical piece of the puzzle by the agencies themselves. Yes, they should also use traffic counts and other metrics to guide decision making, but knowing which sites are highly rated by citizens as useful, easy, transparent is a definite step in the right direction.
I’m really proud of the way our data and analysis is helping in these .gov Reform Efforts. I believe in this stuff, I really do. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. ForeSee’s research has shown that citizens who are highly satisfied with a federal government website rate their trust in the agency 58% higher and are 47% more likely to participate in government than citizens who are less satisfied. Satisfaction also increases the likelihood that the citizen will recommend the site to others, return to it, or use it as a primary resource as opposed to utilizing more costly channels.
These are all things that make the government more efficient, and efficiency saves us taxpayers time and money. It’s great to play a part in that.