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In order for a government agency to provide the highest quality of customer service, it is first necessary to know the needs and expectations of the customer. Once this is known action can be taken to better meet these needs and expectations. The development of an appropriate survey instrument and data collection methodology form the foundation of this dialogue between the agency and the customer.
This paper will outline issues related to the development and implementation of a "generic" customer satisfaction survey which was used to assess the satisfaction of customers from 14 agencies (consisting of 20 operating units) within the Department of Commerce. These agencies offer diverse products and services, therefore, the task of developing one instrument for surveying satisfaction across these agencies was challenging. Moreover, this questionnaire was designed to obtain both agency-specific and departmental comparison information which lead to additional complexities. The aim of this paper is to highlight survey results and to discuss issues related to making comparisons among these distinct agencies. In addition, lessons learned from the process and suggestions for future research will be explored.