Public gives NOAA’s National Weather Service high marks in customer satisfaction

September 7, 2011

NOAA's National Weather Service ranks in the top 15 percent of federal agencies for customer satisfaction, according to a recent public survey. With an essential public safety mission, the agency rated 84 on a scale of 0 to 100 – a score considered “excellent” by independent survey firm Claes Fornell International (CFI).  

CFI conducted the survey for the National Weather Service between May 21 and June 23, 2011, tripling the number of respondents from the previous year to 33,000 – 94 percent of whom were private citizens. CFI measured customer satisfaction with the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), the standard methodology used across public and private sectors to evaluate public opinion and help prioritize organizational changes that will improve the customer experience.

“The National Weather Service can be proud of this strong score,” Rodger Park of CFI recently told National Weather Service staff as he announced the survey results. “You can count yourself among the best in class.”

The 2010 average ACSI score for all government services is 65, while the public gives the private sector an overall ACSI score of 76.

Improving the public’s experience with federal government agencies is a priority for the Obama administration. In April 2011, President Obama signed an executive order to improve customer service throughout the federal government. The order requires agencies to develop a customer service plan, streamline service delivery and improve the experience of its customers. The order also requires agencies to solicit customer feedback of government services and use this feedback to make service improvements.

“I am proud of the strong score we earned from the public, but what I also see here is an opportunity for the National Weather Service to become even better,” said Jack Hayes, director of the National Weather Service. “We’ll use the results of this survey to improve our services to American taxpayers and to become a more weather-ready nation.”

The survey asked respondents to rate National Weather Service performance in the areas of routine climate, water and weather forecasts and services, dissemination services, support services, and severe weather awareness outreach.

Respondents gave the agency strong scores for meeting customer needs and providing ease of understanding across all weather forecasts and outlooks. Warnings for top weather threats – primarily tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and winter storms – scored well across the country for understanding, timeliness and accuracy. The agency also scored well in support services, such as professionalism, knowledge, interpreting weather information, accessibility, responsiveness and resolving complaints.

The survey also showed that one-third of Americans base job-related decisions on information received by the National Weather Service. Survey respondents overwhelmingly indicated they are highly likely to use products and services from the National Weather Service in the future, and would recommend these services to others.

NOAA's National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA’s National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy. Visit us online at and on Facebook.

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