FACT: In a report issued last August, the ACSI gave Facebook a customer satisfaction score of 64 (on a 100-point scale).
FACT: In a report issued yesterday, 95% of federal websites rated using the same scale and the same methodology score better than Facebook.
Now, I don't know what happens at your office, but at my office, people spend their downtime on Facebook, not on irs.gov. So how can it be that 95% of federal websites outperform Facebook in terms of customer satisfaction? Is that even possible?
Yes, it's totally possible. And the Feds vs, Facebook isn't the only comparison that can be made. The best federal websites outperform the best private-sector websites (like Google and Amazon). In fact, the best federal websites have some of the highest scores in the entire ACSI, which measures more than 225 private companies (online and offline) and more than 200 federal services (also online and offline). That's pretty incredible, isn't it? Two social security sites, with scores in the 90's, have the highest customer satisfaction scores in the entire ACSI; higher than customer satisfaction all stars like Amazon, Apple, and oddly enough, Heinz. (it's true; Heinz ketchup is usually one of the highest scorers).
Satisfaction is basically a measure of how well your experience lives up to your expectations. People have very high expectations of Facebook, and a score of 64 shows that Facebook isn't coming close to meeting them. People may have lower expectations of government in general, though I would also argue that people's expectations are informed by all of their online experiences. In other words, if someone is navigating from Amazon to the US Postal Service to Google to NASA to Best Buy, they aren't raising and lowering expectations from site to site. If they get good functionality, usability, and layout on Amazon, they'll expect it on NASA too.
So while it sounds strange to say that 95% of e-gov sites have higher satisfaction than Facebook, it is true when you define satisfaction as the ability of an organization to deliver an experience that lives up to or exceeds expectations. So who knows? Maybe Facebook should be recruiting its next generation of customer experience professionals from the feds?
On average, private-sector sites still outperform e-gov sites, but the difference isn't as much as you might think. Overall e-gov gets a satisfaction score of 75, which trails most of the private-sector online scores. But when you break e-gov down into categories, we see that e-gov news and information (74) ties private-sector news and information (74). E-gov portals and department sites (75) are very close to private-sector portals and search engines (77), and all e-gov categories beat private-sector social media sites (70).
You can download the free e-gov report on our website, which goes into more detail and gives scores for 111 individual federal websites.
What do you think? Are you surprised that e-gov satisfaction scores are higher than Facebook?