Friday, March 21, 2008

ACSI, E-Gov Performance, and Customer Loyalty

Stowers, Genie N.L. (2004). "Measuring the Performance of E-Government," E-Government Series, IBM Center for the Business of Government. March 2004.

ACSI (2006). "ACSI Methodology," About ACSI. American Consumer Satisfaction Index.

A quibble I'm not sure will stick, but interesting: Stowers (2004) points to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) as a good tool for evaluating the effectiveness of e-Government. But check out the ACSI methodology:

See that little bubble at the end: "Customer Loyalty"? ACSI says this about that:

Customer loyalty is a combination of the customer's professed likelihood to repurchase from the same supplier in the future, and the likelihood to purchase a company’s products or services at various price points (price tolerance). Customer loyalty is the critical component of the model as it stands as a proxy for profitability.

"The critical component" -- so how do we apply "customer loyalty" to e-Government? How many customers dissatisfied with their e-Government experience are going to move to another country? How many people dissatisfied with the Department of State website will get their passports from France instead? The ACSI appears to measure consumer satisfaction in the context of a competitive market, a condition that simply doesn't apply for most of what we turn to the government (and e-government) for.

Now Stower (2004) suggests an out (p. 25): in e-govt, "customer loyalty" may simply refer to the user's willingness to use the site again, not move to Canada. Still, there's a difference. There's only one agency I can get my driver's license from. Whether I go online or to the courthouse, my loyalty doesn't have much room to roam. I'm still dealing with the government. That's very different from the private sector situation, where I can stop buying books from Barnes and Noble's website and from their stores and do all my book shopping through



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