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Measuring Customer Service At The Bureau Of Labor Statistics

Catherine M. Kazanowski


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) serves a variety of customers — academic institutions, the media, other government agencies, private companies, private citizens, just to name a few — both directly and indirectly. While the satisfaction of all these customers is important to us, our direct customers, because of our on-going contact with them, are a much more accessible source of meaningful dialog on the subject of customer satisfaction. These direct customers include people on our mailing lists, those who access our data electronically, and those who make personal requests to us. It is the satisfaction level of customers requesting information either by telephone or mail that we are measuring with the BLS Customer Service Survey. This paper will describe various aspects of the survey, provide a summary of survey results, and discuss lessons learned and future steps. The BLS Customer Service Survey was developed to provide data to set goals, measure, and demonstrate the effect of efforts to improve the Bureau's information dissemination services. Survey measurements refer to the manner in which we provide information, not the quality or appropriateness of the information provided. The survey was also undertaken in response to the President's Executive Order No. 12862, issued to all federal agencies about setting customer service standards. This executive order requires agencies to survey their customers in order to determine the kind and quality of services they want and their level of satisfaction with existing services.