The General Services Administration’s main website (gsa.gov) has seen a dramatic 18-point improvement in citizen satisfaction since the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) began measuring federal website approval ratings in 2003.

The index, measured every quarter with the latest released on Thursday, showed that GSA scored 74 points in the fourth quarter of 2011, up from 56 when ACSI began taking the temperature of customer satisfaction with federal government websites. Overall report results indicate Americans are more satisfied with services provided by the U.S. federal government than they were a year ago.

GSA has been listening to the citizens, their customers and what changes they can make.” – Larry Freed

As for GSA, the agency still has a long way to go, acknowledges Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee, the customer experience analytics firm which partners with ACSI in releasing the e-government numbers. The agency’s numbers still trail other popular sites. Two websites from the Social Security Administration are dramatically higher – SSA’s iClaim website scores 91 and its Retirement Estimator scores 90.

Nevertheless, “GSA has been listening to the citizens, their customers and what changes they can make,” Freed said.

“It’s not only good for the citizens, it’s good for government,” Freed said. “It lowers the cost of delivering services via the web.”

“When you go to the main GSA website, there’s an incredible number of things you can go to and they’ve done a pretty good job of organization,” he said.

Sarah L. Hyder, GSA’s director, enterprise web management, said the latest numbers reflect how satisfied visitors are with how well the search and navigation tools work.

“We’ve simplified the site, made it easier to find things,” Hyder said.

GSA.gov gets 1.5 million visitors per month, traffic that doubles to 3 million a month between now and April 15, a time period where government employees are seeking information on their per diem rates for travel to complete their taxes.

GSA has been working diligently to create a better website for its customers. Among the changes that have been made recently:

  • Redesigned the look and feel of website, making it easier to read with more white space.
  • Enhanced the search feature, making it more user friendly and easier for people to find information.
  • Created a link to gsaadvantage.gov where people can find specific products and services on various GSA schedules.
  • Simplified the site, making it easier to find things and highlighted the most requested links on the front page.
  • Stood up a new blog feature in June 2011 highlighting news and information.
  • Enhanced staff directories to make it easier to find people by first name, last name or office.
  • Made greater use of social media.
  • Developed guidelines for various government activities that range from accessibility to noise pollution to coastal zone management.

Hyder said GSA is continually monitoring its customer satisfaction survey as well as customer comments to respond quickly to fix any problems.

GSA has a metrics expert looking at customer satisfaction constantly. It has a large number of web content managers to analyze information. Hyder said the GSA is looking to do more advance training for the web content managers so they will have a better handle on how to evaluate the information.

This year will see more improvements and features coming the public’s way, including:

  • An e-mail subscription service that will allow people to sign up for regular e-mails about subjects they are interested in.
  • Plans to expand in the next two months to other subjects on gsa.gov, including per diem, schedule information and small business information.
  • Launching a mobile site so GSA content is readable on a mobile device.

The following is a ranking of the top e-gov performers:


Department

Website

Satisfaction
SSA SSA iClaim: www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline 91
SSA SSA Retirement Estimator: www.ssa.gov/estimator 90
SSA Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs:www.socialsecurity.gov/i1020 88
DHS U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Español: www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis-es 86
GSA GobiernoUSA.gov website: www.gobiernousa.gov 86
DHS U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Resource Center: www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/citizenship 86
HHS MedlinePlus: www.medlineplus.gov 86
HHS MedlinePlus en español: www.medlineplus.gov/esp 85
HHS National Women’s Health Information Center (NWHIC) main website: www.4woman.gov 84
HHS NIAMS public website: www.niams.nih.gov 84
HHS HHS Healthy People: www.Healthypeople.gov 83
SSA Social Security Internet Disability Report: www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability 83
PBGC MyPBA: https://egov.pbgc.gov/mypba 83
HHS National Cancer Institute Site en Español: www.cancer.gov/espanol 83
SSA Social Security Business Services Online: www.ssa.gov/bso/bsowelcome.htm 83
HHS CDC main website: www.cdc.gov 83
DOD DoD Navy: www.navy.mil 83
HHS National Cancer Institute main website: www.cancer.gov 83
FTC FTC OnGuardOnline: www.onguardonline.gov 82
HHS National Library of Medicine: www.aidsinfo.nih.gov 82
CIA CIA recruitment website: www.cia.gov/careers 82
DHS U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis 82
HHS NIDDK: www2.niddk.nih.gov 81
DOS Recruitment website: www.careers.state.gov 81
NASA NASA main website: www.nasa.gov 81
DOJ NIJ main website: www.ojp.gov/nij 81
HHS SAMHSA Store: www.store.samhsa.gov 81
HHS AHRQ Effective Health Care Program: www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov 81
DHS U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: www.uscis.gov/e-verify 81
DOC National Geodetic Society, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website: www.ngs.noaa.gov 81
HHS AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange: www.innovations.ahrq.gov 81
DOJ FBI main website: www.fbi.gov 80
HHS National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research: www.nidcr.nih.gov 80
DOD Pentagon Channel: www.pentagonchannel.mil 80
HHS National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: www.nichd.nih.gov 80
DOD DoD Air Force: www.af.mil 80
DOI National Park Service main website: www.nps.gov 80