Federal agencies don't provide the level of customer service they used to and taxpayers aren't happy about that. The new American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) released on Tuesday shows overall satisfaction with the federal government fell 2.6 percent from last year to a score of 64 (on a scale of 0 to 100). Just two years ago, government service rated a strong 80. When compared with the private sector, the federal government now rates lower than nearly all of the 43 industries tracked by ACSI. Only Internet service providers have a lower score (63).
"Budget cuts and downsized workforces have resulted in longer wait times and a general lack of helpfulness and courtesy," said ACSI director David VanAmburg. "It's harder to get an answer, on the phone or in person, as efficiently or quickly as before."
The Department of Defense earned the highest score of 73. Satisfaction with the Department of Health and Human Services continued to drop, falling to 62. Veterans Affairs (59) and Treasury (57) also rate well below the government average. A few federal agencies do provide excellent customer service. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation got top marks (90) from retirees. That beats Amazon (88), the top-rated private sector company. The Department of Education rated an 87 from people who contact the FAFSA call center.
-- Herb Weisbaum, NBC News contributor