Customer Satisfaction Pilot Studies and Analysis

Overview

Survey Administration.
Six states conducted and made available participant satisfaction data. Four of those states also conducted and made available employer satisfaction data. Nearly all of the states used the three questions that make up the ACSISAT and asked them at the beginning of the survey immediately after the first question that determined the types of services received. One state, however, did ask about satisfaction with each of the services before asking the three ACSI questions. This was done by mistake, but produced no discernable difference in the results.

The data were collected using independent contractors who conducted the telephone surveys as outlined in TEGL 7-99. The participant customers were a combination of JTPA Title IIA, IIC, and III participants. Employer customers were drawn from both JTPA and Wagner-Peyser contacts.

In the Spring of 2000, before all of the surveying had been completed, the major contractors met at ICESA in Washington, DC to discuss lessons learned. Because analyses had not been conducted or were very preliminary, the focus was on survey administration.

  1. Contractors agreed that the greatest difficulty in meeting response rates was among employer customers. The problem stemmed from not having adequate contact information. They defined adequate information as having at least two and preferably three names and phone numbers for each employer.
  2. Contractors suggested that the window for contacting all customers be no more than 60 days2
  3. There is a need to translate the surveys for significant concentrations of non-English speaking populations.
  4. Youth will present a major challenge in terms of obtaining an adequate response rate.
  5. The one state that translated the survey into Spanish found that there were still difficulties in understanding the ACSI questions, especially the questions about the ideal and expectations. However, it was unclear whether the difficulty arose because of problems with translation or the inherent complexity of the questions themselves.

One of the questions, comparing the customer's experience to their expectations, had an earlier version of the response scale. The question was scaled from "failed to meet expectations" to "met expectations." The current version of this question substitutes "met expectations" with "exceeded expectations." For this reason, the results presented do not necessarily represent the same pattern as with the newer wording. In addition to this difference, the ACSISAT is not calculated using the weights which were not available to USDOL during the pilot period. Therefore, although the overall response rates and other results are likely to provide a generally accurate picture of this index, the results can not be assumed to provide a highly accurate, detailed picture. The states participating are labeled from A-F.

Analyses
There are a number of approaches that can be used to analyze customer satisfaction survey data. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, and, each has varying degrees of suitability for different audiences (e.g., local office staff, management, policy makers, stakeholders, and the public). No one approach fully portrays the customer responses; a complete portrayal of the information calls for using a combination of approaches. All of the approaches suggested are easily calculated using commonly available computer software (e.g., MS Excel). The approaches include:

  • Looking at the basic descriptive statistics (e.g., average, frequencies, percentages)
  • Examining the dispersion or spread of responses
  • Comparing responses
    • Of customer groups
    • Among states or local One-Stops
    • At different time periods
  • Examining relationships between the ASCI questions and additional questions about services

1 The questions were used before USDOL contracted to use the official ACSI index. Therefore, the calculations in this paper omit the weights and can not be used to compare to official ACSI results. The data were collected in accordance with TEGL 7-99.

2 The original guidance had been within 90 days for participants and 60 days for employers. The latest TEGL has made the window within 60 for both customer groups

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