National Partnership for Reinventing Government

Government-wide Customer Satisfaction Survey Gets Underway

August 10, 1999

All across America, taxpayers are rating their satisfaction with government services. When completed this fall, the first government-wide survey of customer satisfaction will measure how well the government treats its customers and identify ways to improve customer service. This month, customers of High Impact Agencies -- 30 federal agencies that serve more than 90 percent of the American people -- will be randomly surveyed to determine levels of satisfaction with the services they receive.

Vice President Al Gore announced plans for the government-wide survey in January during an international conference sponsored by the National Partnership for Reinventing Government (NPR). Announcing the initiative, the Vice President said, "In 1993, NPR set the goal of delivering federal services equal to the best in business. Agencies have been working for the last five years to find out how to best serve customers. Now it's time to measure their performance."

The government's customer service revolution started by putting people first. Executive Order 12862 in 1993 instructed federal agencies to establish customer service standards, report on their customer service activities, and develop customer service standards. Putting people first means ensuring the federal sector provides the highest quality service possible to the American people. Moving the government-wide survey initiative from the drawing board to actual contact with taxpayers is a significant achievement. Government-wide survey results will be available later this fall.

The President's Management Council, the chief operating officers of the cabinet agencies, sponsors the survey. A Federal Advisory Committee for Excellence in Customer Satisfaction, composed of industry, academic, consumer groups, and government agency leaders, oversees the survey. Besides focusing on the best methods for institutionalizing a customer service culture in the federal government, the Committee will work with the High Impact Agencies to target catalytic changes necessary to improve the services provided to the American public. Other initiatives will be aimed at identifying and sharing best practices for improving and delivering customer service. Improving customer service is an essential ingredient for raising the level of trust the public has in government.

A team from Arthur Anderson LLP, the University of Michigan Business School and the American Society for Quality is conducting the survey. The survey instrument is the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) developed by the University on Michigan Business School. Industry uses the ACSI, established in 1994, to measure the quality of goods and services available in the United States for more than 200 companies. Using ACSI trend analysis over time, private sector companies evaluate customer satisfaction and expectations, perceived quality and value, as well as customer retention information.

For More Information

Contact Rhudy Tennant at or call (202) 694-0077. Also contact Cheryl Robinson at or call (202) 694-0074.

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