Overview

With access to QLess technology, citizens of Orange County in Florida can now schedule appointments online to pay taxes, apply for licenses, and obtain official documents. With this new process, citizens are served quickly with fewer people standing in line waiting to conduct their business. The solution also provides a new opportunity for County officials to engage with citizens on the quality of service delivered.

“This has opened up a channel of communication with our citizens like we’ve never had before,” says Jim Cochrane, Chief Information Officer for the Orange County Tax Collector. “The feedback we’re receiving allows us to make changes to our operations for even better service.”

Business Challenge

“Until a year ago the process was the same as it’s always been at local government offices around the country: arrive at the office, take a number, figure out which line you’re supposed to be in, and then wait your turn,” says Cochrane.

He said the County wanted a complete solution that would integrate all aspects of the process for serving its citizens – scheduling, notification, and feedback – and help reduce the amount of time people had to wait for service.

Solution

“As we started looking for a comprehensive solution, we examined what other city and county governments across the state were doing,” says Cochrane. “Most of what we found didn’t really measure up – either the solution was too expensive, didn’t perform very well, or it lacked the functionality we wanted. Then we learned about the experience of municipalities around the country with QLess. Following an introduction and demonstration of QLess, we conducted a 90-day pilot in one of our offices.”

The system worked so well that in short order the county rolled QLess out to all seven offices. Feedback from citizens has been outstanding. Cochrane also noted Qless’ commitment to continually improve and advance the technology as Orange County’s needs evolved.

With the QLess solution, citizens can schedule appointments in advance via smartphone or PC, and arrive just in time. Or they can register via kiosks at one of the branch offices, leave to attend to other matters, and return at their assigned time. The system provides updates to citizens via text or voice messages, notifying them of any changes or delays, and allowing them to change their appointment times without losing their place in line.

“Just before a scheduled appointment, citizens receive a message confirming that it’s on time, and even directing them to the correct window for the type of business they wish to conduct,” says Cochrane. With this functionality government employees spend less time managing traffic and instead focus on serving citizens and getting them on their way.

Results

“Since we implemented the QLess solution, we have 35% fewer people waiting in line for service at any time,” says Cochrane.

Lines are now significantly shorter at all seven of the branch offices of the Orange County Tax Collector, making citizens happier by reducing the time it takes to conduct their official business.

He added that the feedback function was the real surprise of the solution, offering valuable insights on the solution itself as well as the services provided by the branches.

“Once their service is completed, our patrons receive a survey request via text. In the past we’ve done surveys by mail and through our website, but the response rate we get through QLess is 10 times more than anything we’ve received before. Overall, 82% of the respondents say they love the QLess solution and would recommend it to their friends.”

“QLess has been a real catalyst for communication with our citizens, and we’re very happy with that. So far, we’ve received more than 13,000 survey responses, and this information is allowing us to make modifications and changes to our operations for even better service.” —Jim Cochrane, Chief Information Officer at Orange County Tax Collector

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