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Fact Sheet

American Customer Satisfaction Index Survey

 Social Security Administration Results

  • The Social Security Administration received a rating of 82 one of the highest of all participating Federal Agencies.
  • The rating is 10 points higher than the comparable private sector index of 72.
  • The survey focused only on SSA customers who are receiving retirement benefits. This is SSA's largest customer base with 27.6 million beneficiaries.

Customer Service Activities Receiving Strong Public Approval.

  • Retirement beneficiaries gave Monthly Benefits an extremely high index of 94 and clearly found the receipt of their benefits to be very timely. Few satisfaction drivers even achieve scores in the high 80s, much less reach the 90s.
  • Customer Service received a strong score of 86. Retirement beneficiaries view SSA as providing service that is both courteous and professional.
  • Perceived Quality received a strong index score (86) which indicates that retirement beneficiaries were very satisfied with the quality of their experience with SSA.

Customer Service Receiving High Public Approval with Need for Improvement .

  • With regard to Customer Service, although beneficiaries find SSA personnel courteous and professional, beneficiaries do not always find them accessible and easy to reach.
  • Of SSA's three activities, Information (79) scored lowest. Beneficiaries indicated that the benefits information provided by SSA sometimes could be clearer and more relevant.

SSA is Working to Improve Its Notices and Customer Access to Employees.

  • SSA is making its notices to the public easier to understand.
  • Rewriting notices to make them clearer and easier to read and training employees to use plain language in all letters and publications
  • The agency is improving its 800 number to make SSA easier to reach and the services provided more comprehensive.
  • SSA is expanding its appointment process and reducing waiting time in field offices.
  • A comprehensive website has been created where customers can download forms and access extensive information.

Background on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Survey

  • The ACSI is a uniform cross industry measure of the quality of goods and services available in the United States since 1994. The sectors surveyed are durable goods, finance and insurance, and government.
  • The index is produced through a partnership among the University of Michigan Business School, the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and Arthur Andersen.
  • The ACSI measures customer satisfaction for 170 private sector corporations and two major Federal agencies (Internal Revenue Service and United States Postal Service).

Government Participation

  • Vice President Al Gore announced the intent for 30 High Impact Agencies to participate in the ACSI and the President's Management Council sponsored the participation.
  • The purpose of the survey of High Impact Agencies (which have 90 % of the Federal Government interaction with the public) is:
    • to measure how well the agencies serve the American people;
    • to set a baseline for measuring customer satisfaction among Federal agencies and the private sector;
    • to identify areas in which high-impact agencies can improve customer satisfaction; and
    • to create a government that works better, costs less and gets the results that Americans care about.


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