Originally published February 21 2015
American satisfaction with federal government hits lowest point ever recorded by survey
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) The one area where Americans share a truly bipartisan opinion is how they view their government, which is to say, not very favorably.
According to MarketWatch, Americans' dissatisfaction -- hatred, even -- of the federal government is the highest it has ever been, as measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, or ACSI. According to the organization's most recent 2014 report, citizen satisfaction with government has declined for the second straight year.
"Americans are less satisfied with services of the U.S. federal government for a second consecutive year, as citizen satisfaction recedes 2.6% to an ACSI score of 64.4 (scale of 0 to 100). Satisfaction with federal services overall now dips below the score of 65.4 in 2010 when this measure showed similar erosion," the report states.
The average across all industries is 75 out of 100, MarketWatch noted.
The current ACSI score for the federal government is the lowest across 40 different industries, including cable companies, airlines and others that generally receive a fair amount of criticism, either for poor service, high prices or other issues.
"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 -- concluded.
Poor customer service cited often
Asked specifically what they did not like about the government, some respondents named issues with staffers and customer service in general. As MW noted, Americans were more ticked off with the government's customer service -- or lack thereof, specifically regarding qualities like courtesy, helpfulness and professionalism -- than in 2013, the previous year's report. Customer service rankings for government fell off by 6 percent, from a score of 80 a year ago to 75 in the most current reporting period.
"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," MW reported.
In addition, more Americans said the services provided by Uncle Sam (and your tax dollars) aren't the easiest to navigate or be delivered in a timely manner. And last year, Americans gave these areas lower marks than in past years (scores plummeted from 70 to 68).
The score for information provided to Americans by the government's vast bureaucracy also fell, from 71 to 69; those who commented on this section said information provided often was not clear or was not accessible.
Ironically, given the horrid roll-out of the Healthcare.gov website a year earlier, the one area where Americans gave the government's score that did not decline was in government websites; in this area, the government's score remained unchanged from last year, 72 out of 100.
As further reported by MarketWatch, citing the report:
While no department within the federal government scores above the national average, some departments are more hated that others -- with the Treasury getting the gold star as the most-hated. VanAmburg notes that this isn't surprising, as its public face is often the IRS, which we don't have to tell you, isn't very popular.
It's only going to get worse
Treasury is followed closely by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Resources, both of which were low because there is often controversy involving each of them (the VA scandal from earlier last year and the continuing frustration with Obamacare, whose regulations are meted out and managed by HHS).
Most disturbing is that Americans' angst toward government is only likely to worsen, says VanAmburg.
"While there are exceptions to the general trend of lower customer satisfaction with government services, the challenge of maintaining high-quality service with fewer resources may affect even more services soon," he said. "For example, the wait time for callers to the IRS is projected to balloon even more than it did a year ago--possibly exceeding 30 minutes."
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