ACSI: E-gov losing ground with citizens

The latest American Customer Satisfaction Index, released today by the University of Michigan, shows that citizens' enthusiasm for e-government is tempering a bit. But they are still more satisfied with e-government than with the federal government overall.

Satisfaction with e-government has slipped for the third straight quarter, according to the ACSI E-government Satisfaction Index. Satisfaction measures for more than 100 federal Web sites fell 0.5 percent to 72.9 on the ACSI's 100-point scale, which is the lowest score since the second quarter of 2005.

'The e-government sector reflects some of the challenges faced by the e-business sector, which was also down this year,' said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results, which sponsors ACSI's e-commerce, e-business and e-government indexes.

E-commerce, by contrast, scored 80, up 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter report.

Although scores for e-government are declining, satisfaction with federal online services still outperforms satisfaction with the federal government overall. E-government garnered scores 8 percent higher than the overall federal government, which scored 67.8 on the ACSI study.

About half of the government Web sites that won scores of 80 or higher were health-related sites, showing that the federal government has become a credible source of health information online. The National Library of Medicine's MedlinePlus site (, for example, scored an 85, and the National Cancer Institute Web site ( scored an 82.

The Social Security Administration scored the top two spots, with its Internet Social Security Benefits Application site (
and the Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs site (, earning scores of 88 and 87, respectively.

The study showed that citizens who are happy with their online experience are more likely to visit the site again, recommend it to others and choose it over phone or in-person contact.

'Improving satisfaction with federal Web sites will drive more citizens to use the channel, which has the beneficial effect of making them more satisfied with the government overall,' said Claes Fornell, founder of ACSI at the University of Michigan.

Fornell called the downward trend 'distressing' and urged the government to leverage the potential of the Web to improve services to citizens.

'The Web is truly helping the federal government do a better job at meeting the needs of citizens, which is impressive,' said Errol Hau, senior director of government markets for ForeSee Results. 'However, we've reached a point where Web sites may have to kick it up a notch or risk an eventual erosion of satisfaction.'

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.


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