February 14, 2017 08:00 ET

E-Government Citizen Experience Scores Increase as Obama Era Ends, but Experts Herald Caution

As President Trump's administration begins, sudden changes in websites could dampen future satisfaction

ANN ARBOR, MI--(Marketwired - Feb 14, 2017) - Voice-of-customer leader ForeSee has released the 54th edition of its quarterly study exploring citizens' experience with federal e-government, including websites and mobile apps. As the Obama administration finished its eight-year run, e-government citizen experience (CX) with websites increased a half point (75.3 from 74.8 on the study's 100-point scale) from the previous quarter. However, experts warn that managing e-gov with a steady hand is essential to continued satisfaction during the ramp-up of the Trump administration.

"It's essential that changes to federal websites be directed by data, not by politics," said Dave Lewan, author of the ForeSee Experience Index (FXI) E-Government report and Vice President at ForeSee.

"Citizens' trust and confidence in government is built through direct interactions," continued Lewan. "Online government enables positive interactions and transparency that reinforce trust and efficiency on a massive scale -- but data from Q4 indicates that sudden changes, such as those we've seen in the initial weeks of the new administration, may hamper positive citizen experiences."

"The most important mission of the federal government is to meet the needs of its citizens. As such, government should strive to treat every citizen like its most valued customer," said Eric Keller with the Partnership for Public Service, author of the report's introduction. "But for federal agencies to serve their customers well, they must first understand them, and that understanding should be rooted in data and customer feedback."

Key findings from this quarter's Index:

  • The most improved sites this quarter included: Social Security Online (+9 to 77), U.S. Internal Revenue Service (+7 to 62), and U.S. Geological Survey (+6 to 60).
  • Nine government sites either match or beat top U.S. retail site (score of 85) in satisfaction -- a notable achievement given the typical resources and constraints of e-gov sites.
  • While web scores increased, the average FXI score for federal mobile sites and apps dropped to 77.8 (down 1.8 points from 79.6 in Q3 2016). This remains higher than the web average.
  • Transactional sites outperform other categories. Exemplary scores included the SSA Retirement Estimator (91), Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (90), SSA iClaim, and my Social Security (89).

CX Matters in Government

Online government drives efficiency and ensures trust in government. Fourth quarter data indicates that when a citizen interacts with an excellent federal site (80+ on the study scale) they are 82 percent more likely to use the site as a primary resource, 103 percent more likely to recommend the site, 51 percent more likely to return, and 54 percent more likely to trust in the government. These are all outcomes that are directly tied to bottom-line cost savings, making improvements to citizen experience a top priority for an administration dedicated to fiscal responsibility and budget cutting.

Lewan, who plays a role in the effort to educate more than 4,000 appointees from the new administration who are entering the federal government from the private sector (in affiliation with the Partnership for Public Service Center for Presidential Transition), cautioned e-gov stakeholders not to take these citizen responses to good online government experiences for granted.

"While federal CX scores are often stable quarter-over-quarter, outcomes of CX like citizens recommending or trusting a site can be more volatile," said Lewan. "We'll know more about the transition and its impact on specific sites when we publish our next quarterly report in May. For now, our message is to make adjustments carefully, rely on data, and be aware that citizen satisfaction has dropped during past administration changes."

This is the 54th consecutive quarter that ForeSee has reported on the state of e-government citizen experience, beginning in the third quarter of 2003. Download this quarter's FXI: E-Government report.

About the Study

ForeSee collected and measured more than 200,000 responses across federal government websites and mobile experiences during the fourth quarter of 2016 as a part of the ForeSee Experience Index: E-Gov Q4 2016 Report (formerly called the ForeSee E-Government Satisfaction Index). The study is a comprehensive reflection of the citizen experience with federal government websites, mobile sites, and mobile apps. Methodologically, scores of 80 and above indicate highly satisfied visitors, and scores below 70 indicate dissatisfied visitors.

About ForeSee

ForeSee helps organizations act with certainty and keep their customers loyal. ForeSee® CX Suite allows organizations to manage all of their customer experience needs from one place, capture the entire customer journey, and prioritize their most critical CX issues. Clients include more than 2,000 organizations worldwide -- in government, non-profit, higher education, retail, financial services, and other industries -- that have transformed their VOC programs into a strategic business discipline that delivers economic impact. Founded in 2001, ForeSee is headquartered in Ann Arbor, MI and has offices in Washington D.C., New York, San Francisco, St. Louis, Cleveland, Vancouver, and London. For more information, visit

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