Want to boost online user satisfaction? Try these tools

Want to boost online user satisfaction? Try these tools

Agencies that want to improve customer satisfaction with their Web sites can take advantage of a Bureau of Labor Statistics laboratory and, soon, a pop-up software survey tool.

At last week's Interagency Customer Service Forum in Washington, Jean E. Fox, a research psychologist in the bureau's Office of Survey Methods Research, described her group's laboratory for watching test subjects click through a prototype Web site or online application.

The observation room at BLS headquarters in Washington contains several video cameras that can be adjusted to provide a direct view of the tester's computer screen or hands. Researchers can also watch through a one-way mirror.

Observing the subjects' behavior and debriefing them after a testing session can yield valuable qualitative insights into problems with the site before it goes live, Fox said.

BLS makes its observation lab available to other agencies at no charge, but outsiders are asked to work around the BLS researchers' schedule, Fox said.

Larry Freed, president and chief executive officer of ForeSee Results of Farmington Hills, Mich., gave a presentation on his company's CS Monitor software.

The software displays 12- to 15-question pop-up surveys that ask targeted visitors to rate a site, Freed said. Site managers can choose to query random visitors, visitors of specified pages within the site or visitors exiting the site. The questions are based on the American Customer Satisfaction Index, a standard compiled by a research center at the University of Michigan.

Adding the CS Monitor software requires the insertion of 'a few lines of JavaScript code' into the Web site's HTML, Freed said.

The software costs $30,000 for an annual subscription, Freed said.

The Federal Consulting Group, a fee-for-service franchise within the Treasury Department, will offer the CS Monitor software to agencies after it receives clearance from the Office of Management and Budget, said Bernard A. Lubran, a project manager with the group.

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