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 3.2 2.9 manner 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, 2.63 2.99 4.58 4.51 examiner's/attorneys technical, procedural and legal position Direct promptly to proper office/person 2.55 2.85 4.28 4.37 Disseminate info. on changes before their 2.72 2.82 4.22 4.21 effective date 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 2.62 N/A 3.99 N/A amendment after final rejection with the file and deliver to examiner within three business days 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
The PTO is making efforts to improve customer satisfaction, including the following:
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.