Government Customer Service Success Hinges on “No Wrong Door” Approach


Share on LinkedIn

Since the 16th century, government has been bound by a struggling service reputation that has frequently been summed up by the phrase “red tape.” But motivated by the recent establishment of the Office of E-Government and Information Technology, as well as Executive Order 13571, which requires federal agencies to streamline service delivery and improve the constituent experience, government agencies are working to quickly cut ties with this persistent persona.

For government customer service perception to noticeably improve, agencies at all levels require a citizen engagement strategy that’s of the people, by the people, for the people, and able to serve them anytime, anywhere, on any device. Thanks to a pioneering effort and investment in CRM technology by customer-centric brands in the private sector, the groundwork has already been laid and tested for this “no wrong door” approach, which not only improves customer satisfaction by giving the public a choice in how they initiate and receive service, but opens up channels that are far less costly than traditional ones such as phone or email.

Self-Service Channels Prove Effective in Many Ways

Self-service knowledgebases and video, as examples, reduce costs by enabling constituents to address and answer common issues and questions themselves. Today, nearly 70% of people seeking information or support try self-service options first through a provider’s knowledgebase or through a general web search, according to market research firm ServiceVRG. If the individual needs additional help, he or she can then seamlessly escalate to assisted service such as live chat or help desk ticketing, which through cloud-based CRM technologies, is all managed and reported on in one place.

“If every phone call costs an agency $25, call deflection achieved through a good self-service knowledgebase represents a huge savings,” says Ken Landoline, principal analyst, Current Analysis, “and if users who escalate issues are routed to the right person in the right department the first time, that’s a significant savings too.”

“The federal government has obviously lagged behind on customer service, but that’s changing,” says Landoline. E-government initiatives have, in fact, already contributed to an uptick in the public perception. When asked whether they were satisfied with the service provided by agencies in 2012, 71% of citizens said they were, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Yet this number contrasts sharply with satisfaction with the federal government overall, at 43%.

While there’s still a way to go, more channels and the “no-wrong door approach” has service satisfaction levels headed in the right direction. E-government communication channels continue to earn higher satisfaction scores than more traditional modes of communication, according to the ACSI. The index shows that citizens who interact with government using websites (67) or email (66) are more satisfied than those who interact with agencies via phone (65) or printed materials received via mail (62).

The Social Aspect of Government Customer Service

Not to be ignored is the use of the social media as a new channel for government customer service and engagement. Popular social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are becoming a destination for service requests and community-sourced support. Fifty-one percent (51%) of respondents in a 2013 Accenture survey said they’d be willing to use social media to contact government agencies to request service and resolve issues. To successfully meet this initiative, agencies should consider integrating social channels with contact management databases and other service channels, providing seamless escalation and resolution rules, no matter how the public reaches out for help or information, whether that’s social, mobile or social via mobile.

One agency already using social media to transform service delivery is the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). Active duty military, veterans, dependents and civilian personnel around the globe can now access self-service resources and information on benefits, payments and other transactions through DFAS’s Facebook page. While the organization still offers multiple contact options such as email and phone, its social media initiative has significantly reduced reliance on more high-touch channels such as phone and email, proving the “no wrong door” approach to be the continued right approach for better service, support and communication with the public and equally important audiences served by government agencies.

For more best practices and advice from leading analysts, download Parature’s latest whitepaper, Multi-Channel Service: Elect to Serve Your Constituents, covering key topics in government customer service and constituent engagement including:

  • Providing ‘no wrong door’ access
  • Moving to the cloud
  • Capturing voice of the customer feedback
  • Using service to drive revenues and compete with the private sector
  • Leveraging cloud technology simplicity to attract, retain and maximize IT talent.

Click here to download.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tricia Morris
Tricia Morris is a product marketing director at 8x8 with more than 20 years of experience at technology companies including Microsoft and MicroStrategy. Her focus is on customer experience, customer service, employee experience and digital transformation. Tricia has been recognized as an ICMI Top 50 Thought Leader, among the 20 Best Customer Experience Blogs You Must Follow, and among the 20 Customer Service Influencers You Must Follow.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here