The survey explored client interaction with the Department and perceptions of the level of service received by clients who had received funding, as well as those who were not successful in their application for funding. Clients were sampled from two broad types of programs: Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) programming and Economic Action Plan (EAP), which is a newer set of programs only available since 2009. The objectives of the survey were to measure satisfaction with service delivery and difficulties among clients across the two types of programs, as well as to measure differences in satisfaction levels in 2010 compared with those found in 2007 for funded clients of the WD programming.
The survey was conducted with 779 clients who had made applications over the course of 2010. The sample includes 563 EAP clients and 188 WD clients1. Of the 779 total completed cases, 582 clients received funding and 169 did not2. Associated margins of error for these sample sizes are +/-3.0 per cent3 for the overall sample, 4.1 per cent for funded and 7.2 per cent for unfunded clients. It is 4.1 per cent for EAP clients and 7.6 per cent for WD clients. Unlike the 2007 telephone survey, the 2010 sample of clients was administered online to decrease response bias and increase the cost effectiveness of the survey. The 2007 survey also did not include unfunded clients or EAP clients.
Client interaction with WD is largely through e-mail (for eight in ten clients), however, traditional telephone methods are also still common. Although it is common for multiple contacts to be made in order to receive required information (according to half of surveyed clients), most feel that the number of contacts are acceptable. The average wait for funding is 26 weeks for clients of WD programs, and 17 weeks for EAP clients where there is a shorter application process.
Funded clients are very positive about the services they have received from WD. The vast majority are satisfied with the overall quality of service from the department (nine in ten funded clients). In particular, staff are seen as providing a high level of service. The vast majority of funded clients expressed satisfaction with the level of courtesy and respect, knowledge and competency of staff, as well as the ease of understanding staff, and staff’s ability to deal with clients confidentially. These positive results also extend to clients’ ability to get through to staff, conscientiousness of staff, and fairness of treatment.
Clients are also very positive about the clarity of information, requirements to complete the request, and general straightforwardness of the request/process. Satisfaction levels are also high for the amount of time to get an appointment and the number of contacts required to complete the process (eight in ten funded clients are satisfied). Satisfaction is not as strong regarding the amount of time to complete the request and receive the funding; although satisfaction is still reasonably high (two in three clients are satisfied).
As positive as clients are, a sizable proportion (one in four) reported some difficulties with service delivery. About half of the clients believe that some aspects of WD’s service delivery could use improvement, particularly in the application process, which is described by some as bureaucratic and overly long.
Results are generally more positive among clients of the newer EAP programs than among clients of the more traditional WD programs. As expected, results are also considerably more positive among funded clients than they are for non-funded clients.
As already indicated, there are fundamental differences in methodology between 2010 and 2007, making comparison of the current results somewhat difficult (e.g., different sample constitution and approach to data collection). That said, satisfaction with the overall quality of service remains very high among funded WD clients and strengths of WD service delivery are also generally consistent with the 2007 survey. Satisfaction with specific elements of service has remained as high as they were in 2007, although satisfaction with the length of time to receive funding seems to have fallen considerably since 2007. In keeping with this trend, clients also seem to perceive a more bureaucratic and complicated process in 2010 than they reported in 2007.
Full Report: The WD Client Satisfaction Survey is available online at the Public Opinion Research Report website.
. The remaining 28 cases did not provide sufficient response to allow for categorization.
. Plus 28 unidentified cases.
. Calculation includes a correction factor for finite populations.