Aerial of Arlington National Cemetery
Shown in this aerial view is just a small section of Arlington National Cemetery's 624 acres. A recent survey, the American Customer Satisfaction Index, determined the Veterans Administration's 131 national cemeteries to be at the top of a survey of ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON (Feb. 10, 2014) -- For the fifth consecutive time, the Department of Veterans Affairs' National Cemetery Administration has bested the nation's top corporations and other federal agencies in a prestigious, independent survey of customer satisfaction.

"Once again, this survey shows that employees at VA's 131 national cemeteries are committed to providing world-class customer service for our nation's veterans and their families," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or VA, Eric K. Shinseki. "It is an honor to care for our nation's heroes in perpetuity, and we use the highest of standards of compassion and professionalism to ensure we commemorate their service to our nation."

The American Customer Satisfaction Index, or ACSI, is the only national, cross-industry measure of satisfaction of the quality of goods and services available in the United States. Beginning in 1999, the federal government selected ACSI to measure citizen satisfaction.

Citing the National Cemetery Administration's, or NCA's record-setting ACSI results, the independent Federal Consulting Group noted the satisfaction scores as the "highest to date for any organization in the public or private sector." The driving factors for continued customer satisfaction include cemetery service and customer service.

More than 100 federal agencies have used the ACSI to gauge consumer satisfaction with more than 200 services and programs. The index was founded at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and the survey is produced by ACSI, LLC.

For 2013, NCA achieved a customer satisfaction index of 96, the highest ACSI score in either the private or public sector in the history of the ACSI. The score is nearly 28 points above the 68 point average for federal government agencies. NCA participates in the ACSI every three years, previously in 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010. This is the fifth time NCA participated and the fifth consecutive time NCA received the top rating of participating organizations.

The ACSI survey polled the next-of-kin or other people who had arranged for the interment of a loved one in a VA national cemetery six months to one year prior to the survey commencement. Surveys were sent to 2,500 people, 494 responded, a high response rate for a mail survey.

Using methodologies developed at the National Quality Research Center of the University of Michigan Business School, NCA received ratings in the categories of "customer service" and "user trust" of 96 out of a possible 100 points. The results indicate respondents are pleased with their experience at national cemeteries and are willing to recommend their services to others.

Veterans with a discharge issued under conditions other than dishonorable, their spouses and eligible dependent children can be buried in a VA national cemetery. Also eligible are military personnel who die on active duty, their spouses and eligible dependents.

Other burial benefits available for all eligible veterans, regardless of whether they are buried in a national cemetery or a private cemetery, include a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate and a government headstone or marker. Families of eligible veterans may also order a memorial headstone or marker when remains are not available for interment.

In the midst of the largest expansion since the Civil War, VA operates 131 national cemeteries in 39 states and Puerto Rico and 33 Soldiers' lots and monument sites. More than four million Americans, including veterans of every war and conflict, are buried in VA's cemeteries on more than 20,000 acres of land.

For more information on VA burial benefits, call toll-free: 1-800-827-1000. To make burial arrangements at a VA national cemetery, call the scheduling office at: 1-800-535-1117.

Related Links:

Arlington National Cemetery North America News

VA Burial Benefits

National Cemetery Administration: Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemeteries

American Customer Satisfaction Index

Arlington National Cemetery