Patent and Trademark Office Customer Satisfaction Report The following customer satisfaction report is provided as a result of customer survey data obtained from December 1994 to February 1995. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this report, please contact Fred DiFiore or Tresea Woody at (703) 305-4217. Aug. 18, 1995 THERESA A. BRELSFORD Deputy Associate Commissioner for Administration and Quality Services Customer Satisfaction Data Collected To Date In order to measure customer satisfaction of Patent and Trademark customers, a survey was conducted with the assistance of the U.S. Census Bureau. The survey included a series of questions on the importance to the customer and their level of satisfaction with the decision-making process, timeliness, staff responsiveness, application process, price, outcome of the process and competence of the staff. The survey results showed on a scale of 1-5, with five being very satisfied -- the overall mean score rating for customer satisfaction for Patent customers was 3.3 and 3.5 for Trademark customers. The overall percentage of satisfied Patent customers was 50.9% and 63.5% for Trademark customers. The following is a summary of each question on customer satisfaction and importance: Item (Question) Mean Score Mean Score (Satisfaction) (Importance) Patents Trademarks Patents Trademarks Decision-Making Process (Overall) 3.1 3.3 4.1 3.9 - Clarity of guidelines or criteria 3.1 3.3 - Quality of status information provided 3.2 3.3 - Quality of feedback provided 3.0 3.3 Timeliness (Overall) 3.2 2.8 3.8 4.0 - Timeliness of decision 3.1 2.8 - Issuance of product in a timely manner 3.2 2.9 Staff Responsiveness 3.3 3.5 4.0 4.0 - Assistance at a convenient time 3.4 3.6 - Prompt and helpful service 3.3 3.5 - Flexibility in trying to address needs 3.1 3.4 Application Process 3.4 3.5 4.0 3.8 Price 2.6 3.1 3.4 3.2 Outcome of the Process 3.4 3.6 4.3 4.3 Competence of Staff 3.3 3.6 4.3 4.1 In the area of "red tape," Patent customers rated a mean of 2.6 for the amount of bureaucracy they encountered and a 2.3 for Trademark customers. These scores were on a scale of 1-5 with higher scores representing more red tape encountered. A second part of the survey contained questions relating to the importance and satisfaction of each of the customer service standards that were set by the PTO in 1994. The standards were based on data obtained at customer focus sessions. These sessions were conducted to ensure that the PTO truly understood the needs and expectations of their customers regarding products and services. A total of 11 Patent and 7 Trademark focus sessions were conducted in 1994. From the data captured at the sessions, the PTO established customer service standards. The following chart contains survey results on customer satisfaction regarding established service standards: Standards Mean Score Mean Score (Satisfaction) (Importance) Patents Trademarks Patents Trademarks Set clearly in written communications, examiner's/attorneys technical, procedural and legal position 2.63 2.99 4.58 4.51 Direct promptly to proper office/person 2.55 2.85 4.28 4.37 Disseminate info. on changes before their effective date 2.72 2.82 4.22 4.21 Return telephone calls in one business day 2.62 2.80 4.06 4.15 Provide legible correspondence 3.04 3.39 3.99 3.89 Status letters within 30 days 2.57 2.61 3.89 4.04 Treat customer with courtesy 2.96 3.18 3.63 3.74 Match properly addressed fax of formal amendment after final rejection with the file and deliver to examiner within three business days 2.62 N/A 3.99 N/A Deliver fax within one business day 2.63 N/A 3.81 N/A Conduct thorough and reasonable search 2.67 N/A 4.6 N/A 30 days response time after allowance 2.7 N/A 3.99 N/A Mail filing notices within 19 days 2.54 N/A 3.52 N/A Registrability of Trademark in 13 months N/A 2.54 N/A 4.25 Filing notices within 30 days N/A 2.45 N/A 4.00 First communication within 3 months N/A 2.39 N/A 3.91 Notice of publication within 30 days N/A 2.56 N/A 3.90 Notice of Abandonment in 45 days N/A 2.55 N/A 3.71 Certificate of Registration in 7 days N/A 2.41 N/A 3.65 Filing notices in 14 days by 9/30/95 N/A 2.55 N/A 3.59 Improvement Efforts The PTO is making efforts to improve customer satisfaction, including the following: -- Initiated Business Process Reengineering effort to evaluate the entire patent process, including performance measures and award system. The effort comprises of 5 main areas: process, customers, culture, quality, and tools. As-Is analysis completed in mid-July, in process of developing the To-Be models. Held customer focus sessions in various cities to obtain input on the design of the future patent process. -- Initiated Business Process Reengineering effort to evaluate the entire trademark process. Customer focus sessions will be held during the month of August in various cities to obtain input on the design of the future trademark process. -- Installed more fax machines so customers could send documents quicker and more directly to examiners. -- Developed PTO-wide policies and programs to improve lines of communications with the customer (e.g., policy to include the name and telephone number of the PTO employee responsible for an action on all outgoing correspondence and a policy on a standard message to greet customers). Aggressively installed voice messaging throughout the PTO (with a tentative completion date of September 1995). -- Restructured Trademark Law Offices to enhance the examination process. -- Providing legal orientation and customer service training to employees. -- Performing benchmarking with other organizations to develop product and process improvements. -- Held public hearings which resulted in the publication of new rules, MPEP revisions, and establishment of examiner guidelines (e.g., biotechnology, software). Continuing Efforts The PTO will continue to survey customers on an annual basis to obtain satisfaction levels on general items contained in this report and on customer service standards. Customer service standards will be added and revised as needed.