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1/25/2011
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E-Gov Trumps Facebook On Consumer Satisfaction

Most citizens are happy with federal Web sites, and successful e-gov initiatives are fostering trust in the government, reports Foresee study.

Obama's Tech Tools
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Slideshow: Obama's Tech Tools

People are more satisfied with federal Web sites than they are with the performance of the government itself, although successful Internet engagement is breeding more trust in the federal government, a new survey has found.

Of those polled in the most recent Foresee Results' American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) E-Government Satisfaction Index, 75% said they were generally satisfied with e-government Web sites, compared to 65.4% that were pleased with the government overall.

"Citizen satisfaction with the federal government tumbled in 2010, but e-government remains the bright spot in an otherwise challenging landscape," Foresee president and CEO Larry Freed wrote in an introduction to the survey.

However, as the Internet is becoming the preferred way people connect with the federal government, one of the goals of the Obama administration's Open Government Directive -- to inspire more citizen participation and trust in the government -- is being realized, according to the survey.

Survey results were based on more than 275,000 surveys collected during the fourth quarter of 2010. Over the course of the year, Foresee surveyed more than 1 million people about federal Web site satisfaction.

People that use a government Web site are 59% more likely to trust the government agency and 58% more likely to participate in government through an expression of their opinions, according to the site. Moreover, they are more likely to recommend the site, return to it or use it as a primary resource before trying to engage with the government in another way.

Satisfaction with government Web sites is even trumping that of the most popular social networking site in the world. According to the survey, 95% of all of the e-gov sites included in the survey, or 105 of 111 sites, outperformed Facebook in terms of online satisfaction.

If federal agencies want to continue this positive trend, survey participants recommend that they focus on increased transparency and improve and increase the online features available for citizens, according to the survey. This will make sites more useful and convenient for people visiting them.

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