Who Earned the Highest Customer Satisfaction Survey? The VA Cemeteries

Sunday, February 16, 2014

It struggles mightily with providing disability benefits to wounded veterans, but the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) knows how to operate a cemetery to people’s satisfaction.


Once again, the VA’s National Cemetery Administration (NCA) has been ranked No. 1 in the American Customer Satisfaction Index.


Developed by the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, the index measures customer satisfaction with the quality of U.S. goods and services offered by companies and government agencies. Federal services, overall, ranked low on the totem pole, just above Internet providers and just below airlines and subscription TV service.


The NCA, however, not only finished first—which it has done every time it has participated in the survey—but also scored the highest rating ever: 96. The closest a private-sector company came was Mercedes-Benz with an 88. The NCA’s rating was also 28 points higher than the average mark received by federal agencies: 68.


Some observers were perplexed by the NCA’s success, considering the VA has consistently been behind in processing disability claims filed by veterans, and that the agency misplaced numerous headstones and buried at least eight people in the wrong plots at several U.S. military cemeteries.


But the head of the VA, retired Army general Eric K. Shinseki, will take the good news wherever it comes from.


“Once again, this survey shows that employees at VA’s 131 national cemeteries are committed to providing world-class customer service for our nation’s veterans and their families,” Shinseki said in a prepared statement. “It is an honor to care for our nation’s heroes in perpetuity, and we use the highest standards of compassion and professionalism to ensure we commemorate their service to our nation.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

VA Cemeteries Score Highest-Ever Rating for Customer-Satisfaction Survey (by Josh Hicks, Washington Post)

ACSI 2014 (press release, American Customer Satisfaction Index)

ACSI Federal Government Report 2013 (American Customer Satisfaction Index) (pdf)

Burial Problems Found at VA Cemeteries (by Christian Davenport, Washington Post)

Arlington Cemetery’s Mishandling of Remains Prompts FBI Criminal Probe (Jerry Markon and Christian Davenport, Washington Post)

Should Service Dogs be Allowed to be Buried in Military Cemeteries? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

America’s Most Hated Companies: Mid-Year Report Card (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Ken Broder, AllGov)


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