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					P3.4                          NESDIS CUSTOMERS: ARE THEY SATISFIED?

                                               Tam ara G. Houston *
                             National Clim atic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina

1. INTRODUCTION                                                accom panied the introductory letter. Mailed surveys
                                                               were entered into the resulting database by an
    Anytim e a service is being provided to a user             independent contractor. A follow up letter was also
com m unity, it is im portant to periodically evaluate         sent out to encourage responses.
whether the service is m eeting the needs of its                    The survey was sent to a total of 25,228 users
users. Often tim es, direct com m unication can                who had requested data from the four agencies
provide useful feedback for changes as well as new             during 2002. Non-paying users who ordered data
ideas for future products.                                     on-line were not surveyed since their contact
    During the spring of 2003, NOAA’s National                 inform ation was not recorded. Responses were
Environmental Satellite Data and Inform ation Service          received from 6,440 users which resulted in a 26%
(NESDIS) Data Centers (which includes the National             response rate.
Clim atic Data Center, the National Geophysical Data
Center, and the National Oceanographic Data                    2.2 Survey Results
Center) and the Office of Satellite Data Processing
and Distribution sent a custom er satisfaction survey               The first section of the survey asked the user to
to their users. A users’ workshop was also held                rank their satisfaction of various service and product
during the sum m er of 2003 in order to continue the           related issues on a scale of 1 (not at all satisfied) to
com m unication process.                                       5 (extrem ely satisfied). The average score for eight
                                                               questions can be seen in figure1. Overall, 92% of
2. CUSTOM ER SATISFACTION SURVEY                               users were satisfied or extrem ely satisfied with the
                                                               service they received.
2.1 Survey Background                                               The largest user groups were those from the
                                                               business/industry sector (45.6%) followed by
    The custom er satisfaction survey consisted of 20          individuals (18.4%).       The prim ary use for the
rank and m ultiple choice questions as well as a               requested data was for business purposes (35.0%)
space for additional com m ents. The questions were            followed by legal docum entation (27.6%) and
selected from a pool of cleared questions approved             scientific research (16.8%). The two m ost com m on
by the Office of Managem ent and Budget as well                ways products were obtained was as a printed copy
other agreed upon questions. The survey asked                  (38.2%) or digitally by FTP (26.9%).
users to rate their satisfaction on issues such as                  Thirty-five percent of users reported that they
quality of products and services received,                     request data on a regular basis (i.e., m ore than twice
accessibility of data, and tim eliness of response.            a year). W hile 69.0% of internet users reported that
The survey also asked users to identify the type of            they found the needed inform ation easily or very
data received, the prim ary use of the product, as well        easily on the agency’s website, 25.7% of users
as the benefit of the data to the user or user’s               reported having difficulties (figure 2).
com pany. Users were encouraged to log into a                       Difficulties with website navigation was the m ost
password protected website to enter their survey               com m on im provem ent area m entioned. Users also
responses or to m ail back the two page survey which           m entioned difficulties with data interpretation as well
                                                               as the inability to preview data before placing an
* Corresponding author address: Tam ara G.                     order.     Mention of excellent custom er service,
Houston, National Clim atic Data Center, 151 Patton            valuable data holdings, and better service than other
A v e n u e , A s h e v ille , N C 2 8 8 0 1 ; e - m a i l :   governm ent agencies were among the num erous
Tam ara.Houston@                                     com plim ents given to the NESDIS agencies.

    In order to encourage further dialogue, users
from all four agencies were also invited to the
NESDIS Data Users’ W orkshop, held in Boulder,
Colorado, in June 2003. Approxim ately 375 users,
representing various user groups, attended the
workshop. The goals of the workshop were to:

•   im prove com m unication and rapport with users,
•   assess users’ needs and societal benefits,
•   solicit users’ opinions on current NESDIS data
    and inform ation products and services,
•   inform users of future capabilities, plans, and
    data sets,
•   and review and update user needs for new
    products, data archiving and access, and future        Figure 1. Average satisfaction level of various
    plans.                                                 service and product related issues.

     Users m ade over 500 recom m endations which
were consolidated into approxim ately 180 com m on
recom m endations. An action plan is currently being
developed to address each of the recom m endations
and a workshop report will be posted on the
w o r k s h o p        w e b        s i t e      a t .


     Overall a m ajority of custom ers were satisfied or
extrem ely satisfied with the products and services
they received. The largest user groups were those
in business and industry related fields and
individuals. W hile a large m ajority of on-line users
found the data easy to locate, others found the web
sites cum bersom e to navigate.
                                                           Figure 2. Ease of finding inform ation on agency
                                                           web sites.

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Tags: P34-N, ESDIS