Columbia citizen satisfaction survey shows need for improvement

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COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia will now conduct citizen satisfaction surveys every year to gauge issues the public has with city services.

The survey was previously given every other year, but the city decided to give it every year to get answers and provide solutions quicker.

The most recent survey for 2014 shows increased citizen satisfaction with general customer service and how it was provided.

However, the survey also shows a decrease in satisfaction in customers reaching the right person in city government and getting information they need from the city.

Public Communications director Toni Messina said the city wants to take this information and improve city employee and citizen relationships so customers have a better experience.

"We really believe in the power of data to help make decisions," Messina said. "This is a random sample survey and so the group is intended to reach a representative example of people in the city of Columbia."

The data suggests the city should do more to reach out to residents 55 years or older, minorities or report a low household income.

That's because there was a general dissatisfaction with city services among those categories in the survey.

About 20 percent of the survey's respondents had incomes under $30,000 and identified as non-white. 27 percent were older than 55.

Messina said the city is considering forming a focus group to find out more issues within citizen satisfaction and how to improve them.