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HealthCare.gov Still Gets Poor Marks for Customer Experience

Gil C/Shutterstock.com

HealthCare.gov’s botched rollout may have been mitigated by a mercenary band of techies, but it’s still behind the curve in customer experience, according to Forrester’s Customer Experience Index.

Released today, the report’s findings are based on perceptions from more than 46,000 consumers surveyed last November and December on 299 U.S. brands and federal agencies.

HealthCare.gov comes in dead last among 18 federal agencies Forrester surveyed, while the U.S. Postal Service and the National Parks Service tied for top marks.

HealthCare.gov’s poor rating is not exactly a surprise. In November, HealthCare.gov was rated “very poor” among the agencies and programs rated in Forrester’s CX Index.

At the time, the Forrester report called federal customer experience downright bleak

Forrester’s newest customer experience index put more emphasis on how adept companies and agencies are at “creating and sustaining loyalty,” according to a blog post by the report’s author, Megan Burns.

“The biggest change in our new approach is the way we judge CX excellence,” Burns said. “To hit a home run, the 299 brands we studied had to do more than make customers happy. They had to design and deliver a CX that actually helps the business by creating and sustaining customer loyalty.”

Is government doing a better job than it was?

It’s difficult to tell based on the different metrics used in both reports. Still, government finished last among 18 industries at “translating customer experience to loyalty.” Digital-only retailers like Amazon finished at the top.

What can HealthCare.gov learn from more customer-friendly federal operations?

“No matter how effective and easy HealthCare.gov becomes -- and it certainly isn't either of those yet -- it will never be an experience nearly as good as NPS and USPS until it also makes customers feel valued,” Rick Parrish, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, told Nextgov.

New offices like 18F, housed within the General Services Administration, and the U.S. Digital Service, launched after the HealthCare.gov debacle, seek to provide the digital presence necessary to improve government-customer interactions. In addition, the administration created a cross-agency working group to share customer experience best practices across government.

It won’t be long before the public gets a glimpse of how that push has affected distinct agencies. Forrester will release a follow-up report providing specific federal agency rankings in a report later this spring.

(Image via Gil C/ Shutterstock.com)

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