Consumer satisfaction is one of the primary ways we assess private sector services. The majority of online consumers read ratings and reviews on websites such as Amazon, TripAdvisor, and eBay before making a purchase. We post product complaints online because we know other consumers are interested in our experience. What’s more, professionals from mechanics to insurance sellers consider customer feedback when assessing their market position and efficacy.
Although there are ongoing conversations about best metrics for judging quality, there is consensus that consumer satisfaction and feedback are useful and drive quality through competition. And there is a generally held belief that in a democracy public opinion matters.
But one area of public life is notably void of consumer feedback—the public and nonprofit sector serving low-income families.