In a poll that could have implications for agency planning for long-run working arrangements, citizen satisfaction dropped in 2021 by 1.7 points on a 100-point scale to 63.4, the lowest mark in the more than two decades of the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index.
That was the fourth straight drop in a measure that now has not been above 70 percent since 2005 and reflects declines all four areas measured: efficiency and ease of government processes (-3 points to 63), ease of accessing and clarity of information (-2 to 67), courtesy and professionalism of customer service (-1 to 73), and perceptions of government website quality (-1 to 70).
Among agencies, only the Interior Department exceeded the economy-wide average of a combined 73.7 score at 77, with HHS, Agriculture, Commerce and Defense the only others at 70 or above. The Treasury Department—home of the IRS, which struggled with customer service due to short-staffing and pandemic-related cutbacks in personal service—was lowest at 54.
While the survey does not ask about impressions of political leaders, it does show that “party affiliation impacts a wide variety of citizen perceptions,” it added. However, satisfaction declined among both Democrats and Republicans—while notching up by 1 point among independents—which “reinforces the existence of a widespread erosion in the perceived quality of government output across citizens,” it said.