If you have to deal with the federal government — be it the seemingly innocuous Social Security Administration or the eternally-despised Treasury Department, home to the IRS — prepare to be even more annoyed than in the past.
According to a report released Tuesday by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, our satisfaction with the federal government has hit an all-time low (at least since the company began collecting data for this index in 2007). The federal government now scores a 64.4 out of 100 in terms of satisfaction (the average across all industries is 75 out 100). This is the lowest score across the 40 different industries – including industries like airlines, cable companies and others — that the ACSI measures, with the exception of Internet service providers.
“Overall, the services of the federal government continue to deliver a level of customer satisfaction below the private sector,” the report — in which ACSI interviewed 1,772 randomly selected people — concludes.
When asked what they specifically didn’t like about the government, some Americans cited issues with the staff and customer service. Indeed, Americans are more annoyed with the government’s customer service (specifically how courteous, helpful and professional the government staff are) than they were in 2013: customer service rankings for the government plummeted 6% from a year ago — from a score of 80 to a score of 75. While this sounds bad, ACSI Director David VanAmburg says that some of it has to do to with the fact that some agencies have fewer staff members now than in the past, which makes consumers more frustrated when trying to get something accomplished in a timely manner.
Plus, Americans say that the services the government provides aren’t always easy to navigate or delivered in a timely manner – and were worse in 2014 than in years past (scores fell from 70 to 68 out of 100), as was the information provided to them by the government (scores fell from 71 to 69), which they say often lacks clarity and isn’t accessible. The only area that Americans weren’t less pleased with was, perhaps surprisingly, government websites, which while certainly not well-reviewed (72 out of 100) didn’t see a fall in ratings from last year.
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