February 10, 2014, 08:00:00 AM
Ranking Tops Federal Agencies, Private Firms
WASHINGTON – For the fifth consecutive time, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration (NCA) has bested the nation’s top corporations and other federal agencies in a prestigious, independent survey of customer satisfaction.
"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,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “It is an honor to care for our Nation’s heroes in perpetuity, and we use the highest of standards of compassion and professionalism to ensure we commemorate their service to our nation.”
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is the only national, cross-industry measure of satisfaction with the quality of goods and services available in the United States. Beginning in 1999, the federal government selected ACSI to measure citizen satisfaction. Information on ACSI can be found at http://www.theacsi.org/the-american-customer-satisfaction-index#homelogo
Citing the NCA’s record-setting ACSI results, the independent Federal Consulting Group noted the satisfaction scores as the “highest to date for any organization in the public or private sector.” The driving factors for continued customer satisfaction include cemetery service and customer service.
More than 100 federal agencies have used the ACSI to gauge consumer satisfaction with more than 200 services and programs. The Index was founded at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and the survey is produced by ACSI, LLC.
For 2013, NCA achieved a customer satisfaction index of 96, the highest ACSI score in either the private or public sector in the history of the ACSI. The score is nearly 28 points above the 68 point average for federal government agencies. NCA participates in the ACSI every three years, previously in 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010. This is the fifth time NCA participated and the fifth consecutive time NCA received the top rating of participating organizations.
The ACSI survey polled the next-of-kin or other people who had arranged for the interment of a loved one in a VA national cemetery six months to one year prior to the survey commencement. Surveys were sent to 2,500 people, 494 responded, a high response rate for a mail survey.
Using methodologies developed at the National Quality Research Center of the University of Michigan Business School, NCA received ratings in the categories of “customer service” and “user trust” of 96 out of a possible 100 points, indicating respondents are exceptionally pleased with their experience at national cemeteries and willing to recommend their services to others.
Veterans with a discharge issued under conditions other than dishonorable, their spouses and eligible dependent children can be buried in a VA national cemetery. Also eligible are military personnel who die on active duty, their spouses and eligible dependents.
Other burial benefits available for all eligible Veterans, regardless of whether they are buried in a national cemetery or a private cemetery, include a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate and a government headstone or marker. Families of eligible Veterans may also order a memorial headstone or marker when remains are not available for interment.
In the midst of the largest expansion since the Civil War, VA operates 131 national cemeteries in 39 states and Puerto Rico and 33 soldiers' lots and monument sites. More than 4 million Americans, including Veterans of every war and conflict, are buried in VA’s cemeteries on more than 20,000 acres of land.
Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from national cemetery offices, from the Internet at www.cem.va.gov or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 800-827-1000. To make burial arrangements at the time of need at any VA national cemetery, call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117.
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