Are Citizens EVER Happy With Government? How Do You Know?

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Henry Brown 7 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #170112

    Customer Service Week is happening from October 1-5 and GovLoop is sharing a number of resources and discussions to mark the occasion.

    I reached out to a few customer service experts like Alycia Piazza, Candi Harrison and Wendi Brick to see what they felt was the most important question to ask about customer service. This was the common theme:

    1. How do you know if your agency is delivering great customer service? What are your success measure(s) / Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?

    2. How do you use them in a consistent and routine way to make changes to your services?

    In order to seed the conversation, I scoured the Customer Service pages on HowTo.gov to find a few examples and came up with the following:

    Web / Digital Performance Metrics

    • Total Visits
    • Total Page Views
    • Unique Visitors
    • Page Views Per Visit
    • Average Visit Duration
    • Time on Page
    • Bounce Rate
    • New vs. Returned Visitor
    • Number of Onsite Search Queries

    Customer Satisfaction Metrics

    • Overall Customer Experience
    • Completion Rate of Intended Task
    • % of Visitors Likely to Return
    • % of Visitors Likely to Recommend

    You can find many more at this extraordinarily helpful page, but that should be enough to get the conversation going!

  • #170138

    Henry Brown
    Participant

    would think that not only should Completion Rate of Intended Task be tracked but time of Completion as well

  • #170136

    David Dejewski
    Participant

    Measuring Satisfaction From Social Media is more complex than measuring standard analytics. Relationships and course corrections matter more. I’ve explained how to measure outputs, outtakes and outcomes in the past, and I’ve given some practical examples, but in practice, there is a back end that needs to connect what we’re measuring with the front end decision being made about what an organization is going to do going forward. Unless there is a clear connection between what’s being measured in an organization’s wake and the course the organization is setting for tomorrow, the whole data collection exercise can just be an interesting, but irrelevant exercise.

    My suggestion is to look at how well decision making leadership is using the information gathered.

  • #170134

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    +1 definitely!

  • #170132

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    I like net promoter score although not super relevant to gov’t

    “Net Promoter Score” is a customer loyalty metric developed by (and a registered trademark of) Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, and Satmetrix.

    How likely is it that you would recommend [your company] to a friend or colleague? — you can track these groups and get a clear measure of your company’s performance through your customers’ eyes. Customers respond on a 0-to-10 point rating scale and are categorized as follows:

    • Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others, fueling growth.
    • Passives (score 7-8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings.
    • Detractors (score 0-6) are unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth.

  • #170130

    Interesting point, Dave. The key is starting with mission-level goals and objectives, then measuring customer satisfaction in ways that show the achievement of the ultimate target(s).

  • #170128

    Good for agencies to get read on public sentiment? Pivot if not meeting expectations on information/ service delivery?

  • #170126

    David Dejewski
    Participant

    Oh yeah. 🙂

    And follow up with those senior leaders to make sure they are on board and using the information gathered. If there is a disconnect regarding the mission or about how measurements will be used in the decision making process, the entire citizen/customer facing operation could be reduced to little more than disempowered damage control.

  • #170124

    Candi Harrison
    Participant

    I think customers are “happy” when they can do what they came to do, as fast and easily as possible. They may not like the result – if they’re paying a traffic ticket online or discover that they really don’t qualify for that program, they probably wouldn’t say they were “happy.” But I know I’m happy with a government website when I can find what I need, get it done quickly and easily (understanding what I’m supposed to do the first time I read it), and leave. And I may never come back (if it’s that ticket-paying thing, let’s hope not!). But that’s OK.

    There are lots of metrics that can help an agency figure out how it’s doing. But they aren’t all equal. You have to be oh-so-careful how you interpret them (and how your bosses interpret them). You may have 6 million people visiting your website every month. But if most of them can’t find what they want or complete the task that brought them there, you’re not making your customers “happy.” Your visitors might average 5 page views per visit. But is that good or bad? What if they were jumping from page to page because they couldn’t find what they wanted?

    In my experience (and I was a late convert), the most important measures of success are usability data: how long does it take customers to find what they want? How long does it take them to complete the task? Did they get the right answer/outcome? If they had problems finding/completing the task, were they able to find help? And then how much did you improve those numbers by making improvements, in the past year?

    I think citizens would be happy with government if you could show them data that says you reduced the amount of time it takes them to find and use government services and increased the successful completion rate. And if they get stuck along the way, there’s help (preferably human) available immediately. Amen.

  • #170122

    Dale M. Posthumus
    Participant

    The “performance” metrics measure usage, not performance or satisfaction. We must be careful not to get caught up in these easy numbers games, but understand the true value of the numbers. The customer satisfaction metrics are better, but must be active, not passive, or you get a skewed view of performance and satisfaction. I am in full agreement w/ Candi. Satisfaction must be measured by did the customer get the needed information in a reasonable period of time. Of course, these will vary considerably between agencies, depending upon its mission, thus no easy task for Government. SSA provides a wide range of information to millions of individual users. DHS provides a range of information to individuals, law enforcement, companies, and more. What “satisfaction” means in each will be different, but in the end, everyone wants to get information relatively quickly.

  • #170120

    The money quote: “I think citizens would be happy with government if you could show them data that says you reduced the amount of time it takes them to find and use government services and increased the successful completion rate.”

    And this is true for both in-person and online experiences, yes?

  • #170118

    Right – you can look internally (i.e. What does this look like for us, the agency?) vs. externally (What did this mean for the customer?). The first is a trap that causes dangerous myopia…

  • #170116

    David Dejewski
    Participant

    I won’t deny that “…citizens would be happy with government if you could show them data that says you reduced the amount of time it takes them to find and use government services and increased the successful completion rate.” This shows delivery of results.

    But giving people what they think they want, when they think they want it is not always possible given resource realities. That’s when we need to tap a second source of happiness: good communication.

    I have taken over customer service operations that were hopelessly undermanned and collapsing under the weight of demand. Yet, less than a year later, I’ve pulled customer satisfaction surveys (42 pages of comments) that had not a single negative comment in the entire package! Things were no where near being perfect, but customers knew what was going on, that they were being heard, and they knew what we were doing about it.

    Simple “empowering’ actions such as in the following scenario:

    Employee: “Do you have a calendar?”

    Customer: “Yes.”

    Employee: “Let’s circle the 15th together. I promise to get back in touch with you on the 15th of this month no matter what the status of your request is. If we can’t resolve your problem by then, I’ll tell you that and I’ll tell you why. Is that a plan you can live with?”

    Customer: “I suppose I can agree to that.”

    I cut everyone’s day short by 30-45 minutes and directed them to use that time to make follow up calls with their customers. They hated it at first – citing “We don’t have time now! If you take another 30-45 minutes from us, we’re dead!” They came to understand the value of good communication once the pressure started to ease and customers started thanking and encouraging them.

    Being honest, being transparent, and following up go a very long way towards improving the perception of an organization from a customer perspective – even if we can’t always deliver results the way people think they want us to.

  • #170114

    Mark Hammer
    Participant

    Are citizens ever happy with government?

    In a word, rarely.

    It’s not their fault, though. They often don’t know enough about how things actually work to have realistic expectations in mind. They can always imagine something “better”, speedier, less complicated, less constraining, than what they ran into.

    So before you take whatever metrics you gather, and run with them, best to find out what those public service end-users were thinking was gonna happen before you draw inferences about their satisfaction levels. If their expectations were completely reasonable by any objective measure, and they were happy, then be proud. If they were unhappy but had completely unrealistic expectations, then try a little harder but don’t take it too hard.

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