The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) earned a score of 77 in a recent survey of railroad employers on their dealings with the agency, utilizing the science of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey. The study covered the employers' direct contact with agency personnel, along with various forms of electronic communication. This was the first time that railroad employer satisfaction had been surveyed by the RRB, and the score of 77 compares very favorably with the overall ACSI score of 64 for the federal government.
Railroad employers are responsible for reporting service and compensation data for their employees, withholding railroad retirement taxes and providing information on unemployment and sickness claims. These are the primary areas in which they deal with the RRB on a routine basis.
Among the areas evaluated by the survey were interactions with the RRB's national network of 53 field offices and the Quality Reporting Service Center, a headquarters group that provides guidance and training to employers, the online system that allows electronic filing of reports, and the agency website.
The survey results once again showed the RRB field offices to be one of the agency's greatest strengths, with an overall satisfaction score of 88. They did particularly well in terms of professionalism, courtesy and responsiveness of personnel, along with the accuracy and clarity of provided information. The results did indicate that improvement could be made in the ease of contacting the offices, although it still scored higher (79) than the agency's overall score.
The surveyed employers also rated the Quality Reporting Service Center and its staff very highly, with an overall satisfaction score of 85 and ratings that were just a point or two lower than the field offices in terms of personnel, information and ease of contact. The results did show opportunities for improvement in terms of training, much of which is delivered in an online format. While the satisfaction score for training was 87, only 10 percent of the respondents had received training through this RRB unit, representing a significant opportunity for expansion.
The agency website, www.rrb.gov, and the system that allows employers to file forms and reports electronically had identical satisfaction scores of 79. Almost two-thirds of the respondents had used the online filing system, with the results indicating potential for improvement in terms of improving instructions and ease of use.
Founded as a partnership between the University of Michigan Business School, the CFI Group, and the American Society for Quality, the ACSI regularly measures national customer satisfaction with corporate goods and services. The results allow government agencies to compare their performance with similar types of organizations in the public and private sectors, and use customer feedback to improve processes in ways that will have the biggest impact on satisfaction.
This marks the ninth time since 2001 that the RRB has used ACSI survey methodology, with most of the prior reviews looking at specific customer segments that applied for or received various benefits from the agency. In every instance, the RRB's satisfaction level exceeded the overall federal score. This first-ever survey of railroad employers used a combination of 300 e-mail and phone surveys that took place in April and May of this year.
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