People in the United States are finding call center services offered by government agencies more satisfying than the ones run by private firms, says a study from customer satisfaction and technology analytics firm CFI Group. Across the world, private firms dominate the call center industry and customers have little or no chance to check if governments can provide similar services. But in the United States, the analyst firm concludes, private sector contact centers are lagging behind those run by the government.
While state-run call centers are becoming ever more popular, private sector contact center scores dropped more than 5%.
Worse still, government call centers are increasingly using social media to respond to customer queries, while their counterparts in the private sector appeared to be dependent on traditional phone calls.
The study found a 3% benchmark increase to 74 on a 100-point-scale for government contact centers. The overall benchmark beats that of private contact centers, which experienced a significant drop to 73 on the 100-point-scale.
The overall satisfaction shift comes on the heels of the Budget Control Act of 2011, largely referred to as sequestration — a government move that was anticipated to have a negative effect across functions including contact center service.
Despite only 58% of respondents noting awareness of sequestration, there was a marked decrease in contact center satisfaction among those respondents, with 33% rating sequestration as having a negative impact on their contact center experience. However, 67% indicated it did not negatively affect their interactions with key government agencies.
“While government budget cuts did affect a segment of respondents, government workers ultimately stood up to the challenge of satisfying citizens in spite of resource cuts,” said Sheri Petras, CEO, CFI Group.
Most of the calls received by government call centers pose questions about policy, rule or regulation.