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Digital front door vs. No wrong door

Central lobby of the Parliament House of Australia on Capital Hill in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

We’ve written about digital front doors beforea few times, actually—because the idea is so integral to customer experience, especially in the public sector.  

In the simplest terms: a digital front door describes a customer experience (CX) philosophy that starts by imagining a process from the perspective of a customer to anticipating their needs and expectations, with the objective to make a digital experience more convenient and streamlined. 

A well-implemented digital front door strategy can optimize user interactions, use data to deliver more personalized experiences, give users the self-service channels they expect, and provide clarity along the way. This CX philosophy is ideal for public sector organizations that want to make it as simple as possible for customers to access information and services. But recently it’s been overshadowed by an even newer CX concept: No Wrong Door.  

What is No Wrong Door? 

Picture this: if public sector services were a building, a digital front door would be the front door, or foyer. As you enter the building, you’re directed to the correct wing or floor where you can find the right service or someone who can answer your question. Someone looking for unemployment benefits, for example, would be directed to that specific service, and after that they might be further directed to other departments and resources like rental assistance, supplemental nutrition assistance, or other assistance programs. The idea is to make services easier to find and access which, over time, builds trust and rapport.  

No Wrong Door takes that integrated digital approach and expands on it. The citizen entering the metaphorical front door is transported to the correct service automatically, without expending additional effort: any door they choose leads them where they need to go. 

Why No Wrong Door? 

The term “No Wrong Door” was coined when Three different departments involved in long-term services and support (LTSS) came together to help states streamline their processes into more consumer-friendly systems. LTSS, a series of interlocking programs designed to help older adults and individuals with disabilities, is administered by multiple federal, state, and local agencies with multiple funding sources, many of which use complex and repetitive intake processes, making it a nightmare to navigate in the midst of a transition or crisis. By implementing a No Wrong Door approach, these departments made services more accessible and easier to navigate, and helped users make informed decisions on the services that best fit their needs, regardless of which “door” they entered from. 

This approach has been adopted more broadly as part of government-wide CX efforts. For example, several federal agencies have used the Life Experience organizing framework to improve the cross-agency experience for citizens going through common but major life events or transition points, such as retirement or parenthood. This framework starts with Lived Experience research, which seeks to understand how citizens are currently experiencing these interactions, as well as any friction or confusion. For example, to better understand how Americans were approaching retirement and navigating the resources around retirement, a research team collaborated over three months and across four agencies to perform interviews and primary research, helping inform how these agencies can collaboratively address barriers to program accessibility, connect people to support, and improve the experience. 

‘Don’t waste my time’ 

Have you ever stood in a line in a government agency, only to be told you were in the wrong line, and that the one you want is actually in a different room or on a different floor? There might be a totally legitimate, logical reason for those lines to be separate — but from the outside, from someone who just needs the right information or the right permit or the right paperwork filed, they don’t necessarily want or need to know these nuanced differences. They just need to know which line to get into before they waste time. 

Let’s say someone needs to change their name on their social security card. Because their last interaction with government identification was with the DMV, and that’s where they went to get their name changed on their license, they start there. All they need from the DMV website is a push in the right direction — but it’s all too common for a government agency to not list any information that isn’t related to their specific mandate. There can be a mentality of staying in your lane, which leads to extremely siloed information and frustrating experiences. And no matter how frustrating or inconvenient, many of these government interactions are not optional in the same way that ones with a private company might be. Whether it’s updating a license, filing a permit, or paying taxes, citizens don’t have the option of finding a competitor with a better experience or interface.  

No Wrong Door represents a deeper philosophical change: considering the holistic experience a citizen has with every government interaction. This goes beyond creating one spectacular but self-contained webpage experience and requires deeper strategy to understand what your customers want, where they are coming from, and what they are searching for. If someone is searching on the FDA website whether they should serve pork for dinner, are they trying to find nutritional guidelines? Or are they trying to find out if a specific product was part of a USDA recall? Tools like generative AI and plain language prompts can be valuable in helping a citizen find the information they’re searching for and sending them to the right place. 

TTEC Digital and No Wrong Door 

No Wrong Door can be intimidating to implement, requiring intense cross-program knowledge and improved technology in order to communicate across agencies. Giving your citizens a streamlined, intuitive experience isn’t about implementing a new product and walking away: creating a No Wrong Door experience for your citizens requires thinking deeply through your existing experience, understanding where friction happens, and building a strategic roadmap towards your ideal end goal. 

If you’re ready, we can help. TTEC Digital partners with major tech providers like Microsoft, AWS, Google, and Cisco, and has over 40 years of experience designing and implementing systems from the ground up. We can guide you every step of the way, from choosing the right technology solutions to creating your roadmap to understanding how people are currently interacting with your channels, and everything in between.  

Aaron Mosby

About the Author

Aaron Mosby

Vice President, Digital Sales - Public Sector

As Vice President of Public Sector Accounts at TTEC Digital, Aaron customizes customer experience solutions to meet the mission-driven needs of public sector organizations.

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