Washington, D.C. – For the fourth straight year, the U.S. Mint’s customer satisfaction rating is on par with some of the world’s top corporations, according to the 1999 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The index is issued by the National Quality Research Center (NQRC) at the University of Michigan School of Business.
This year, for the first time, it was expanded to create the first cross–agency measure of customer satisfaction with government services. It covers 30 services within 29 Federal agencies.
The U.S. Mint’s Numismatic program, which serves coin collectors, received a score of 86 out of 100. That is comparable to the ASCI ratings at leading companies such as BMW, Mercedes Benz, Maytag and Whirlpool and places the Mint second among the Federal agencies surveyed. The Head Start program of the Administration for Families and Children, scored one point higher with 87.
“This benchmark survey shows that the Mint is just one of several Federal agencies that deliver world–class service,” said Mint Director Philip N. Diehl, whose agency pioneered the use of the ACSI in 1995 and is Chairman of the Federal Advisory Committee for Excellence in Customer Satisfaction, which oversees the ACSI survey of government agencies. The Mint has used the results of the ACSI each year to refine and improve its customer service.
The ACSI is a popular tool with corporate managers seeking a reliable way to gauge customer satisfaction, considered a critical factor in customer loyalty and sustained profitability. The U.S. Mint uses it to build trust among its customers.
“Trust is to government as profit is to business,” Diehl explained. “The index has helped the Mint build a significant level of trust.”
Diehl noted that an objective tool like the ACSI is especially important for public sector institutions because customers can rarely vote effectively with their wallets by taking their business elsewhere. “On the other hand, concrete objective information about how and where we can improve has yielded remarkable results,” Diehl said.
The ACSI is compiled annually after the NQRC surveys more than 50,000 consumers, and measures their responses against six different quality indexes. 7,723 government agency customers were included in this year’s pool of interviewees. The government agencies and private companies are then ranked on a scale of 0 to 100.
Each federal agency involved with this inaugural cross–agency survey selected a single customer segment for evaluation. Consequently, the ASCI measures specific services and not entire agencies. The agencies covered in the 1999 ACSI are considered high impact in terms of customer involvement and deal with 90 percent of the government’s customers.