Communicating Effectively for Your Benefit
~ By Monica Ochoa, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist ~
Good communication is about more than just promptly taking a customer’s phone call or directing them to a helpful website. It includes providing useful information in a clear and easy-to-understand way, in writing, on the web, and over the phone. June is National Effective Communications Month, but at Social Security, we’re at the forefront of clear, concise communications all the time.
Our efforts to better serve and clearly communicate with the American public are paying off, and people like you are reaping the benefits. We’re proud of our consistently high ratings in customer satisfaction and usability.
In the most recent For See E-Government Satisfaction survey, Social Security’s website outranks the customer satisfaction ratings of the private sector websites of icons like Amazon, LL Bean, and Apple. Out of the top-ranked government websites, five of our sites were ranked in the top six, including the Retirement Estimator, Business Services Online, my Social Security, and our online benefit application sites.
This year, for the second year in a row, we received confirmation that we’re doing a great job of explaining our programs and services to the American public in our written products. We scored an ÒAÓ on the 2014 Federal Plain Language Report Card from the Center for Plain Language. This grade means we’re exceeding the standards of the Plain Writing Act of 2010, which requires federal agencies to communicate clearly with the public. We’re the only federal agency to earn this honor for two consecutive years!
Not only is our website simple to navigate and understand, our publications and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) are easy to read and understand as well. You can browse through our collection of publications at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs to learn about Social Security, our programs, and what they mean to you and your family. Many publications are available in up to 17 different languages, and they’re written in plain language. If you prefer a printed copy of a publication, you can call us at 410-965-2039, and we’ll mail you a copy.
Our online FAQs provide quick and accurate answers about our programs for millions of people every year. Recently, we streamlined and consolidated our FAQs so you can find answers easily and efficiently. You can visit www.socialsecurity.gov/faq for accurate information at your convenience.
Nothing is more important to us than meeting the needs of those we serve. We thank you, our customers, for your valuable feedback and vote of confidence. Our customers continue to express their satisfaction because of our effective communication, and we remain committed to maintaining these high standards.