Exploring a Customer Flow Management System for Government Offices
A comprehensive customer flow management system is a must-have innovation for government offices. No other industry has a reputation for slow customer service, long waits, and complicated processes. It’s not fair, of course. Government buildings and the people who work in them are there to help their citizens and constituents. High traffic offices may have trouble keeping up with demand, however. Some offices are understaffed. In other cases, communities can experience a surge of growth that stretches government resources to their limits. Regardless, you can’t deny that everyone has a story about a less-than-stellar experience at a government office building. The complaints typically involve the amount of time spent waiting or poor customer service experiences.
A system that controls customer flow has an impact on office efficiency and employee productivity, which ultimately results in happier employees who are always prepared. Implementing a queueless system streamlines the process of helping citizens, regardless of the tasks performed in the building. A virtual line saves time for community members and government agents. It’s a low-cost option to improve your office chi. Can you picture a workplace filled with engaged, happy employees helping appreciative customers? Explore the magic that happens when you’re able to manage customer flow in an organized, modernized manner.
What Is a Queueless System?
Imagine a life without lines. You may still have to queue up at the grocery store or the bank, but the implications of a customer flow management system for government offices are limitless in their potential. Queuing up in a line for any bureaucratic action is a nightmare for most people. They dread the thought of visiting the DMV. Some of them can’t even enjoy a trip to the post office because of long, snaking lines and wait times that never seem to end. The system is inefficient. It leads to impatient, irate citizens, as well as disgruntled employees who aren’t able to perform their duties efficiently. When everything runs behind schedule, nothing can get adequately accomplished. Employees aren’t efficient, nor are they as productive as they could be otherwise.
A queueless system eliminates the line, as well as wasted time. It’s entirely virtual. Citizens can sign up by choosing an open appointment slot that’s convenient to them. From that point, they receive constant communication from the system. Are things running behind schedule at the city solicitor’s office? A text message and email will notify anyone whose appointment is affected. The folks who book an appointment can communicate with the system to inform someone that they’re running late or have to give up their place in the virtual queue momentarily.
Once you understand what a customer management system is, you can begin to imagine its benefits. In government-owned businesses, the citizens are the top priority. At least, they should be. They expect a certain level of service, too. They are tax-paying members of the community, after all, which is why it’s understandable that they don’t want to wait to reap the advantages of the government services for which they pay. Federal, state, and city offices can boost their efficiency, productivity, and reputation.
The Ease of Virtual Communication
Communication between citizens and government employees is virtually non-existent in too many instances. Face-to-face meetings are the only outlet, and they typically happen at the worst possible times, i.e. while the citizen is trying to renew a license, pay a fine, or get an answer to a pressing question. Those circumstances don’t usually result in an open, pleasant conversation.
A queueless system for customer management not only encourages communication, but it also makes it easy for employees to share information with citizens and vice versa. As briefly mentioned, employees have the opportunity to reach out and get in touch with people to let them know about changes in their appointments and wait times. Simply informing someone that things are behind schedule is enormous. It’s thoughtful, shows respect for a citizen’s time, and eliminates the risk of irritated customers. Better still, communication is instant. Employees don’t have to worry about calling people and trying to get in touch with them, although making voice calls is always an option with the QLess system. More importantly, government employees can email or text citizens.
Citizens can do the same. If a person can’t make it to an appointment or needs to step out of the virtual queue to run an errand, then a text or email gets the job done. The system allows the person to claim a later position in line, as well. There’s no need to start over from the back of the line. The need to come later or schedule another appointment doesn’t leave citizens scrambling to book a time. Furthermore, if things are behind, then citizens can choose to come in on a different day. Communication is open, smooth, and mutually respectful.
Text and email aren’t the only forms of communication in a customer flow management system. QLess installs kiosks and monitors in the government offices that it serves. Kiosks are handy for folks who are already at the office. They’re also helpful to people who may not own a cell phone. Someone can effortlessly check the kiosk for wait times, they can book or change an appointment, and they can leave feedback.
Citizens can also use the monitors to book their appointment in the first place. Whether they sign in via a kiosk or an online system, they’re given a chance to share details about their visit. What is the reason for their visit? What do they need help with and what questions do they need answered? In addition to discovering what documents and items they may need, customers reveal the nature of their visit to employees, who can then prepare themselves as each customer comes.
A Wider Reach
Reaching citizens and knowing that they receive the message are both problems. The up and coming generations aren’t overly fond of phone calls. They don’t enjoy talking on the phone, and they’re upfront about their distaste for voicemail. You place voice calls and leave messages at your own risk. This method does not result in a high percentage of successful outreach and engagement.
Having the option to send email and text messages increases your ability to not only reach citizens but to actually capture their attention. Your office can experience a 15% improvement in outreach. Communication between you and the citizens your office serves will spike to the point where you earn a reputation for remarkable customer service and efficiency.
Increased Rate of Productivity
It’s impossible to be productive when you have to rely on inconvenient processes and outdated tools. Unfortunately, that’s the standard in permits offices, courthouses, and park services across the country. Government offices don’t always have the finances or resources to stay up-to-date on the latest technology in spite of a growing and evolving population that lives in a frequently high-tech world. Employees can’t keep up with these demands. They have to fight to stay a step ahead of the game, and too much of their energy goes to calming frustrated citizens and helping unprepared customers.
Taking the queueless approach gives employees the opportunity to be prepared all the time. They know what’s coming down the line, allowing them to take a moment between appointments to get ready for the next person due in the office.
With QLess, in particular, staff members have access to the management system’s dashboard, which updates in real time. Using FlexAppointments, employees can see which appointment slots are filled, and then they can go a step further to read up on the details of each incoming citizen. Because the system also creates space for walk-ins automatically, staff never has to hang around not doing anything while they wait for someone new to arrive.
No Disruption of Service
All too often, the flow of citizens becomes disrupted because there’s no real organization. In many government offices, people are seen to on a first come, first serve basis. A person may be able to book an appointment loosely, but folks who walk in on the same day can throw a wrench in the works. What’s the solution? From the outside, it seems like a lose/lose situation. After all, you can’t stop seeing walk-ins, nor can you demand that all the members of your community utilize the customer flow management system to book an appointment.
The QLess system doesn’t allow that to happen. It updates the schedule continuously throughout the day. Both citizens and employees can always see which time slots are open. When someone who hasn’t made an appointment comes through the door, the system finds the next available opening and gives it to the walk-in customer. This method does not displace visitors who have a reserved time slot. They aren’t pushed back to make room for people walking into the building. Neither are walk-ins punished, however. They don’t even automatically have to go to the back of the line or the end of the queue. They merely have to take the openings available to them.
Such a smooth method ensures uninterrupted customer flow that rarely, if ever, gets behind schedule. No one gets resentful because someone was allowed to go ahead of them. As mentioned, on those occasions when the time table goes off-track for whatever reason, you can still soothe jangled nerves by alerting citizens about the delay. Just giving someone the option to continue waiting or change their appointment has a profound impact.
An End to Traffic Control
When you use the QLess customer flow management system, you can cut the number of citizens who have to wait in line by as much as 35%. As a result, government staff members don’t waste their energy, resources, and time directing customer traffic and making amends for unreasonable wait times. Instead, they spend the majority of their time doing what they were hired to do: helping the members of the community who need something.
That’s the spot where things can go awry. Employees who can’t fulfill their duties have low morale. They don’t enjoy coming to work because they know what’s waiting for them. Using a system that makes everything run smoothly has a beneficial effect on your employees as well as the citizens who visit the office.
Tracking Problem Areas
QLess has another advantage that gives you the chance to improve your workplace and streamline the methods you use to help citizens. In addition to keeping up with the details of each person who makes an appointment, the customer flow management system tracks behavior and analyzes the data. Do you have a problem with no-shows? What about walk-outs? Checking the analytical information available in the QLess cloud may reveal patterns that allow you to address significant issues in your infrastructure and methods.
At the same time, citizens can share their opinions about the office, the employees, and the processes in place to help them. Send you text-based surveys asking for feedback, ideas, and suggestions. This is especially helpful in local and state-level government offices. Smaller agencies typically have closer relationships with the communities they serve. You may need to change the way things are done to appeal to the taxpayers who use your services the most. QLess allows you to do that at a glance.
A customer flow management system does just what it promises: it allows you to manage the flow of citizens who come through your office while optimizing employee resources. Staff members have more control over their schedules and their preparations. They can better allocate resources and skills when they know who’s coming through the door and what issues they have. More productive employees, improved morale, and an enhanced customer experience ensure that your office will gain an unimpeachable reputation in the community. Have you considered cutting the queue? Call us today at QLess.