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E-commerce Government Sites Show Customer Satisfaction Gains

Kim Hart

Federal Web sites have long trailed private sites in customer satisfaction. But a new study released today shows that government Web sites that allow people to make payments or complete other transactions online have a leg-up when it comes to customer service.

The report by the American Customer Satisfaction Index and Foresee Results showed that citizens are slightly more satisfied with government Web sites this quarter than last, but it's too early to tell if the increase is the start of an upward trend or simply the continuation of relatively flat scores. E-commerce sites in particular showed the most customer satisfaction gains, rising 3.5 percent over last quarter.

For many years, government sites were merely digital brochures that offered very little functionality. But as they try to keep up with the innovations made by commercial companies, interactive features have become much more important.

It's not really that surprising. Many people would much rather file their taxes or buy stamps online rather than waiting in long lines at crowded service centers.

USA.gov, the portal to government sites, lists more than 150 transactions that can be completed online. But sites that allow these transactions are still few and far between: only 12 of the 83 sites measured this quarter have this capability. The Web sites maintained by the Social Security Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Women's Health and the recruitment site for the Central Intelligence Agency were among the high-rankers.

Larry Freed, who authored the study for ForeSee Results, said "the increased participation by e-commerce and transactional sites mirrors increased adoption of these services by government overall."

By Kim Hart  |  June 19, 2007; 10:26 AM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
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