NOAA’s Coastal Services Center (now part of the Office for Coastal Management) provides a broad range of products and services to coastal stakeholders across the United States, including federal and state agencies, municipalities, non-governmental organizations, and resource managers. To help ensure the quality of its technical assistance to stakeholders and to get feedback on proposed changes, CSC tasked ERG with conducting a comprehensive evaluation.
ERG interviewed CSC staff and stakeholders to obtain a detailed understanding of CSC’s services and how the Center created value for its stakeholders. Based on this input, ERG conducted a customer satisfaction survey covering all aspects of the Center’s technical assistance services. The survey showed high customer satisfaction and provided insights into how and why stakeholders valued CSC technical assistance. But it also showed that stakeholders resoundingly disapproved of a proposed change to move to electronic delivery of assistance services.
To better understand this concern, ERG facilitated a stakeholder focus group, which showed that personal relationships and interactions were a key driver of the value of CSC technical assistance. Given these results, CSC did not implement the proposed change; instead, it reemphasized the importance of relationships in its technical assistance services to stakeholders.