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These State Governments Offer the Best Customer Service

Residents of Alaska, South Dakota, Florida, Maryland and New Hampshire are most satisfied by the services their state government provides; Illinois, Connecticut, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Missouri make up the bottom 5

A majority of people in North Dakota left the DMV feeling “extremely satisfied,” while only 3% of Hawaiians felt the same

Despite recent investments, government services lag 5-15 points behind other industries in terms of customer satisfaction and trust

Last updated:  May 23, 2024

PROVO, Utah & SEATTLE, May 23, 2024 – Illinois is ranked lowest by its residents for state government service, according to a new report from Qualtrics. Fewer than half (49%) of Illinois residents who had received a state service said they were satisfied. On the other end of the spectrum, the study found that Alaska (72%) has the highest overall satisfaction scores for state government services. Across the country, federal services like Medicare, USPS, and Social Security have the highest overall customer satisfaction ratings while programs like the DMV, SNAP and state tax services scored the lowest.

Government agencies provide social safety benefits, health care, licensing, and myriad other services to residents across the US. But customer service from government agencies has traditionally lagged behind service in the private sector. Increasingly, consumers expect a higher level of service from government offices. President Biden issued an executive order in 2021 requiring federal agencies to improve their customer service.

Qualtrics asked nearly 20,000 people who have recently used at least one of nine state and federal government services about their experience, creating a new benchmark for customer experience across a range of state and federal services.

Heading into an election year, state and federal government leaders are trying to gain the trust of their constituents. Improving overall customer satisfaction scores has a major impact on citizens’ view of their local government. People who were “extremely satisfied” with government services are 8.5x more likely to say they trust agencies will do the right thing, 9.0x to say government service providers care about them as a person and 7.5x to say agency leaders hold themselves to high ethical standards.

“Top-performing government agencies utilize customer insights to pinpoint crucial customer needs, wants, and desires, and invest in cross-channel improvements that not only meet but exceed their expectations,” said Spencer Steed, Senior Vice President of Public Sector at Qualtrics. “The state services that are leading the way have undertaken the important work of listening to their customers through a variety of structured and unstructured channels to identify the most effective ways to make government easier to work with, the holy grail for customer satisfaction.”

Medicare, Post Office top the satisfaction list

Generally, federal services produced more happy customers than state services, according to the research. Of the nine government services included in the study, residents were most satisfied with federal services like Medicare and the USPS and least satisfied with state services tax and SNAP.

The research shows that satisfaction did not vary greatly between online and in-person service experiences, but the more a person has to interact during a service experience, the less satisfied they tend to be with that experience. For example, government customers who had to switch between a website and in-person channels had lower overall scores.

Satisfaction with the Department of Motor Vehicles – perhaps the most notorious agency for poor experiences, varied widely depending on the state. Nearly nine out of 10 (88%) North Dakota residents who visited the DMV in the last year said they were at least somewhat satisfied. In Iowa, 41% of respondents said they believe the DMV “cares about me as a person.” (Only 1% agreed with that statement in Hawaii, the lowest-ranked DMV experience).

Satisfaction with government services is strongly correlated with household income and age, but not political ideology

  • – Older residents and those with a higher income tended to be more satisfied with the services they received, and have a higher trust in government.
  • – Higher-income households (>$100k) have satisfaction levels 18% higher than lower-income households (<$25k).
  • – White customers generally have higher levels of satisfaction (62%) than Hispanic (55%), Black (57%) or customers of another race or two or more races (54%).
  • – Qualtrics research also shows a similar “satisfaction stratification” based on age. There is a 19 percentage point difference between 18-24-year-olds and those older than 59+. Customers are on average 2.5p.p. more satisfied with every five year increase in age.


Political affiliation – or whether Democrats or Republicans were in the governor’s mansion – did not correlate with customer satisfaction. Looking at the 2020 presidential vote, the difference in satisfaction with state services between Biden voters (64%) and Trump voters (60%) is small. Qualtrics research found only small correlations in satisfaction with government services based on party in power, region, urbanity vs. rurality, or demographic mix.

“Our research shows that even in today’s politically polarized environment, customers base their trust largely on their most recent experiences with government,” said Crosby Burns, Government Industry Advisor with Qualtrics. “This should give public sector leaders motivation to engineer world-class experiences for their customers, who will continue to expect high levels of service for their taxpayer dollars.”

Additional Information

To learn more, download the full eBook and read the Qualtrics blog post.


The data for this report comes from a study of state and federal government customers that have used at least one of several services over the past 12 months. Qualtrics Government conducted this research in December 2023 through January 2024, sampling 14,605 state customers and 4,985 federal customers. Respondents represent all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with minimum sample size thresholds to ensure state-by-state comparisons. Analysis included weighting at the regional level to ensure adequate representation of demographic groups.

About Qualtrics

Qualtrics, the leader and creator of the experience management category, is a cloud-native software platform that empowers organizations to deliver exceptional experiences and build deep relationships with their customers and employees. With insights from Qualtrics, organizations can identify and resolve the greatest friction points in their business, retain and engage top talent, and bring the right products and services to market. Nearly 20,000 organizations around the world use Qualtrics’ advanced AI to listen, understand, and take action. Qualtrics uses its vast universe of experience data to form the largest database of human sentiment in the world. Qualtrics is co-headquartered in Provo, Utah and Seattle. To learn more, please visit