The Biden-Harris administration’s customer experience (CX) efforts may finally be paying off. After four years of measurements that show declining satisfaction, citizen satisfaction with Federal government services surged by 4.6 percent in 2022, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s (ACSI) Federal Government Report 2022.
The breakthrough puts overall citizen satisfaction at a score of 66.3 out of 100 – that’s 2.9 points above the 2021 score of 63.4.
“While the big gains in 2022 have erased much of the negative movement that began in 2017, aggregate citizen satisfaction with the Federal government remains below pre-COVID-19 levels,” Forrest Morgeson, assistant professor of marketing at Michigan State University and director of research emeritus at ACSI, said in a press release.
“As was the case with the private sector, COVID-19 significantly stressed the Federal government’s ability to effectively offer services to citizens, and ultimately eroded happiness with these services,” Morgeson added. “The satisfaction gains in 2022 reversed much of this erosion.”
A look at several of the measurement categories reveals a mixed bag of results.
According to the report, half of Federal government quality attributes bounced back in 2022. Efficiency and ease of government processes jumped 4.8 percent to 66, and ease of accessing and clarity of information improved 3.0 percent to 69.
Meanwhile, the courtesy and professionalism of customer service dipped 1.4 percent to 72, and government website quality dropped 1.4 percent to 69.
While citizen satisfaction varied across Federal agencies, the Department of the Interior led the way this year with a score of 75. The two agencies that scored the lowest were the Department of Housing and Urban Development – at 62 – and the Department of the Treasury – at 54.
However, given the Treasury’s primary citizen-facing mission of tax collection, ACSI said “this lower rating is not entirely unexpected.”
Overall, last year was a big one for boosting customer experience in the Federal government – from providing free at-home COVID-19 tests to households across the nation, to making progress on President Biden’s customer experience executive order issued in December 2021.
Additionally, one of the main priorities in the Biden-Harris administration’s President’s Management Agenda (PMA) is to deliver excellent, equitable, and secure Federal services and customer experience. In November 2022, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued its quarterly PMA update, emphasizing that agencies “made significant progress” in implementing President Biden’s CX executive order.