Meritalk Federal Customer Experience Report


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Meritalk Federal Customer Experience Report

  1. 1. Uncle Sam at Your Service The 2010 Federal Customer Experience Study August 31, 2010 Sponsored by:
  2. 2. Introduction Whether through Federal student aid, tax processing, disaster relief, or even airport security – U.S. Federal agencies offer services to 307 million Americans every day.* So, how are these agencies doing? MeriTalk surveyed 1,000 Americans ages 18 and older to gauge their customer-service expectations and perceptions of Federal agencies’ customer service. The study compares “typical” and “best” experiences interacting with both private companies and Federal agencies – and importantly, identifies opportunities for Feds to improve government service. 2 *U.S. Census Bureau, 2009 U.S. population estimate,
  3. 3. Table of Contents • Executive Summary 4 • Key Findings 5 • Recommendations 16 • Methodology and Demographics 17 • Appendix: Service Attribute Definitions 19 3
  4. 4. Executive Summary • Americans want the Federal government to improve customer service, and many are willing to pay for the upgrade: • 83% say that customer service is something that Federal agencies can improve • 42% of Americans say they would pay an additional $10 in taxes each year for better government service – $552.3 million more in taxes annually • Americans value results, responsiveness, and courtesy in customer service: • Currently, private companies outrank Federal agencies in these categories • 53% of Americans feel that Federal agencies can reduce the time it takes to respond to requests and resolve issues • To progress, agencies must expand Web presence and move more services online: • 63% of Americans who interact with agencies over the Web are satisfied with their experiences • Still, 85% of Americans want Federal agencies to provide more information and make more services available online 4
  5. 5. Customers Call for Change • Americans want Federal agencies to make customer service a priority 83% of Americans believe that the Federal government can improve “There’s too much complexity with the current customer service system. Real solutions are rarely answers to simple questions, yet the system only seems to handle simple, specific questions.” – Baby Boomer, Female Take Away: Significant Opportunity to Improve 5
  6. 6. And, Are Willing to Pay • Almost half of Americans say they would be willing to pay additional taxes for better government service of Americans are willing to pay $10 more in 42% taxes each year for better Federal service That’s an extra $552,300,000 annually Take Away: Funding for Change 6 *42% x 131.5M individual income tax returns filed to the IRS in the 2009** x $10 = $552.3M **,,id=207293,00.html
  7. 7. What Matters Most • In both the public and private sectors, Americans want problems solved quickly, clearly, and with courtesy Most Valued Customer Service Attributes:* #1 Issue Resolution (72%) #2 Responsiveness (71%) #3 Clarity (69%) #4 Courtesy and Professionalism (69%) #5 Consistency (67%) #6 Transparency (51%) Baby Boomers are more likely than Gen Y respondents to value* #7 Self-service (37%) responsiveness and courtesy – 76% #8 Community (34%) to 67% and 73% to 63% respectively See appendix for attribute definitions Take Away: Get In, Get Out, Get On With My Life 7 *Percent of respondents who ranked each attribute an eight to 10 on a scale of one to 10, when one was “not at all important” and 10 was “most important”
  8. 8. Where to Begin? • Americans want Feds to improve response times and streamline information Current frustrations:* Takes too long – 53% No straight answer to my question(s) – 41% Information received or obtained is not consistent – 34% Representatives do not care about my problem – 30% Issue cannot be addressed via my preferred channels – 24% Information needed is not available – 20% Take Away: Speed Up and Simplify 8 *Respondents asked to select their top three frustrations
  9. 9. I’ll Take It from Here • Americans want Federal agencies to provide more information and make more services available online 85% want access to a broader range of information and responses online for a self-service approach to their inquiries Both Boomers and Gen Y respondents want the ability to help themselves online Take Away: Help Me Help Myself 9
  10. 10. The Web Works • Agencies offer self-service options via both phone and Web, and Americans use them with equal frequency. Those using the Web, however, are significantly more satisfied Percent who used each channel Channel Use and Experience: Of those who have used the channel, percent who had a positive experience* 100% 93% 92% 84% 80% 71% 60% 63% 40% 34% Both Boomers and 52% 31% Gen Y respondents 45% 46% were most likely to 20% have a positive 33% 30% service experiences 0% via the Web Web site Phone In person E-mail Social media Texting Take Away: Online Service Delivers 10 *Percent of respondents who rated the quality of their experience a four or five on a scale of one to five, where one was “poor” and five was “excellent”
  11. 11. Public vs. Private Service • When asked to grade their typical experiences with private companies and government agencies, private companies outrank agencies Customer Service: Expectations vs. Reality Respondents rated the importance of each service attribute on a scale of 1-10* and then rated the degree to which private companies and Federal agencies typically provide each attribute.** The perimeter of the Web represents a 9 out of 10, so the closer the plotted line is to the outside of the Web, the higher the attribute rating. Key Importance of the attribute Private company – Typical experience Federal agency – Typical experience Take Away: Clarify to Close the Gap 11 *Average rating on a scale of one to 10, when one was “not at all important” and 10 was “most important” **Average rating on a scale of one to 10, when one was “not at all provided” and 10 was “completely provided”
  12. 12. Private-Sector Service Gap • Top private-sector companies even exceed customer expectations Private-Sector Service: Best Experience vs. Typical Experience Respondents rated the degree Examples of Top Companies to which private companies Cited: with the best customer service Amazon and private companies with Verizon typical customer service Best Buy provide each attribute.* Key Importance of the attribute Private company – Best experience Private company – Typical experience Take Away: Problem-Solving Skills Set Best Companies Apart 12 *Average rating on a scale of one to 10, when one was “not at all provided” and 10 was “completely provided”
  13. 13. Federal Government Service Gap • While some agencies outshine others, most struggle to meet customer needs Federal Agency Service: Best Experience vs. Typical Experience Respondents rated the degree Examples of Top to which Federal agencies Agencies Cited: with the best customer service Internal Revenue and Federal agencies with Service typical customer service State Department Social Security provide each attribute.* Administration Key Importance of the attribute Federal agency – Best experience Federal agency – Typical experience Take Away: Top Feds Make a Difference with Self-Service Options 13 *Average rating on a scale of one to 10, when one was “not at all provided” and 10 was “completely provided”
  14. 14. Uphill Climb • Americans see poor staff training, lack of communication, and lack of coordination as key challenges impeding improvements Primary Barriers to Improvement:* 40% Staff training 38% Lack of communication 36% Lack of coordination 29% Culture 26% Hiring and retention practices 24% Old technology 24% Lack of leadership Boomers are more likely than Gen Y respondents to see staff training 23% Budget as a primary barrier – 46% to 31% 23% Lack of competition Take Away: Address Internal Issues First 14 *Respondents asked to select all that apply
  15. 15. Success Stories • Some government agencies are making a difference today “The Department of Veterans Affairs “Taxes, student loans, assisted me with my educational benefits. passports – everything was The woman who processed my audit was of available online for me to great assistance and went out of her way to quickly help myself with.” resolve my issue.” – Gen X, Female – Gen Y, Male “The tax center has knowledgeable staff “SSA offers quick and accurate answering the phone in clear, concise 'chat' answers to inquiries language. They are friendly and patient.” online.” – Baby Boomer, Female – Gen X, Male “Anytime I had a question about my Federal student loan, I could either “Social Security in my area is find the answer online or contact a pretty well coordinated. While representative. My questions were there is always a waiting answered sufficiently, quickly, and period, they usually have consistently by people who genuinely continuity in helping people.” seemed to care.” – Gen Y, Male – Silent Generation, Female Take Away: All About the Experience 15
  16. 16. Recommendations • Americans ask agencies to focus on the basics: Focus on issue resolution – ask clear questions to determine the customer’s specific needs, and then provide a solution or map out next steps Provide consistent service across all communication channels by all service representatives Respond to inquiries as quickly as possible – even if you’re just providing an update Be compassionate – listen to your customers, and treat each inquiry with care and respect 16
  17. 17. Methodology and Demographics • MeriTalk, on behalf of RightNow, conducted the online survey of 1,000 Americans in July 2010. The report has a margin of error of +/- 3.10% at a 95% confidence level Gender Employment Status 49% Male 8% Student 51% Female 6% Unemployed 5% Full-time parent Year Born 11% Employed part time 13% Before 1946 (Silent Generation) 49% Employed full time 30% 1946-1964 (Baby Boomers) 14% Retired 25% 1965-1976 (Generation X) 7% Other 32% 1977-1992 (Generation Y) 17
  18. 18. Thank You Melissa Hardt – RightNow Rebecca Hovey – MeriTalk (703) 272-1858 (401) 737-1753
  19. 19. Service Attribute Definitions • Customer service criteria, as defined in the survey: Issue Resolution: I feel that my issues are handled professionally and thoroughly – from my first inquiry through issue resolution Responsiveness: I receive prompt attention to my inquiries/issues, and I receive timely responses Courtesy and Professionalism: I feel that my interactions are congenial and that I am treated with courtesy and respect Clarity: I feel that the organization provides me with clear, easy-to-understand instructions Consistency: I get the same information from different staff members/offices, regardless of the channel Transparency: I can track my interactions with the organization Self-service: I feel empowered to find the information I need to complete my task Community: I feel that the organization helps me connect with other customers via forums, events, etc. 19