5 Ways to Improve Government Office Customer Service
While it isn’t the first thing you connect to government appointments, focusing on customer experience in the public sector is important. In this article, we’ll talk about why improving customer service in government must be a priority.
As of 2021, citizen satisfaction with federal government services had hit a record low.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index shows that the federal government as a whole has a customer satisfaction score of 63.4, the lowest recorded level. The previous government satisfaction index all-time low was 63.9 back in 2015.
Citizens make time in their day to pay bills, apply for permits, or obtain information regarding other government policies and procedures that keep their homes and properties rule-compliant.
However, customer experience for the government public sector has hit this low due to a few reasons:
- Crowded, busy offices with long lines
Walking into a busy office and seeing disgruntled office staff serving others who have been waiting for hours can make these simple tasks seem never-ending, frustrating, and unproductive.
- Long waits just to be turned away
Some citizens have turned away after waiting simply because they have the wrong paperwork in hand.
- Lack of queue control
Others are deterred and walk out of the door because queue control is nonexistent. Without a plan in place, your government office can become an unproductive and cluttered area with a negative reputation.
Enhancing your local government customer service strategy is a priority – but staff are also often overwhelmed by high volume at peak periods and lack the support they need.
A solution to help improve government customer experience?
An efficient queueing system can help both sides of this common public sector customer experience problem: remove visitor management burden off of government staff while keeping visitors moving efficiently.
Here is how QLess technology can help improve customer service in government in just five simple steps.
1. Improve Queue Control
It’s no secret that citizens don’t necessarily expect speedy service from government offices. The memes, jokes, and stereotypes about DMV wait times reflect citizen sentiment about what service they expect and often receive while in the DMV queue system.
Even Disney children’s movie Zootopia spoofs the concept of how slow the DMV experience is, likening the DMV experience to sloths.
Use a modern queueing system to prove stereotypes wrong when it comes to customer experience in the public sector and take control of crowds in your government office.
Queue Control Affects Citizen Satisfaction with Government Offices
During peak times, the line at your local government office can quickly get out of control. Many hard working citizens work during the day then rush to appointments to complete necessary errands before going home to cook dinner or take care of their families.
Articles about the frustrations and long waits encountered in government customer service, such as this 6 ABC article about DMV wait times outside of Philadelphia are scattered across the internet, further conveying the need to improve the customer experience in government offices and the public sector overall.
During these busy time rushes, office staff often feel they lack the support they need to help serve visitors in a timely manner, so by improving your queueing system, you also improve the customer experience in your government office.
As of 2021, satisfaction for “process” is the lowest among all drivers of satisfaction with an index score of 63. “Customer service” also saw a decrease for the first time in years. Improving process and customer-service based aspects of the government visitor experience can help turn around this negative trajectory.
Implement a Queueing System to improve Government “Process” and “Customer Service”:
The positive news is that by focusing on building a queueing system and implementing an appointment management system, this will focus on the “process” aspect of government satisfaction and aim to improve scores.
If government staff are also more in control and unburdened by an influx of visitors, there is an opportunity to improve the “customer service” score as well.
How an Appointment Management System Positively Impacts Customer Experience in Government Offices
Now, cloud-based technology allows visitors to schedule appointments in advance and wait however and wherever they want. A visitor management system for the public sector puts the power in citizens’ hands to visit at a time that works best for them, while helping staff better manage and predict visitor flow.
Visitors Set Their Schedule
An online appointment scheduling software for government offices creates the opportunity for citizens to plan ahead and skip the wait. Putting the power into their hands improves the customer experience within the public setting, letting visitors reduce wait times and feel in control of their scheduling..
Increased Staff Control
Waitlist software allows you to help your staff remotely direct customers to visit the office during off-peak times. Eliminate lineups by allowing visitors more choice as they enter the virtual queue either on-site or remotely.
Scheduled Appointments Integrated with Walk-Ins
QLess uses FlexAppointments to integrate scheduled appointments with walk-in customers. FlexAppointments helps create the predictability of appointments, while still allowing people to join the queue as a walk-in.
Text reminders reduce no-shows and allow visitors to reschedule appointments or ask for more time as needed.
Controlling your office queue will improve flow within weeks and is a powerful way to enhance the customer experience in government offices.
Government Industry Shifts Towards Appointment Scheduling
A major trend that QLess has witnessed in the government sector in recent years has been a shift towards appointment scheduling. Harkening back to the DMV experience, even DMVs have recently moved in the direction of appointment scheduling.
Appointment scheduling software for DMVs allows for greater visitor management, as well as a cleaner and safer environment for both the staff and visitors. QLess has seen this with our own DMV clients, who have been more successful managing visitors using our appointment software.
The QLess check-in app for DMV uses Flex Appointments technology to automatically handle appointments, and virtual queues to promote social distancing for walk-in customers. One of the largest DMVs in the country has seen success with QLess, helping turn around the stereotypes of the DMV experience. This particular DMV was transformed using the DMV app: cutting wait times, reducing queues, and improving customer happiness.
2. Increase Satisfaction
Queue control technology is a proven local government customer service strategy that helps increase staff and customer satisfaction. In fact, our clients have observed an improvement in customer satisfaction by up to 100%.
Despite the low satisfaction scores with government agencies recorded in 2021, there is a huge opportunity for growth by taking steps to enhance the customer experience in the public sector.
Government Agency Modernization Yields Positive Results
The good news here is that positive experiences can boost outcomes for government agencies.
Actions taken to improve customer service show massive improvements for government agencies as a whole. McKinsey data shows the many impacts various government agencies have experienced as a result of modernization through methods such as appointment booking software.
Impacts of modernizing in the public sector include:
Wait Time Decrease
Call center wait time decreased by 70% as a result of focusing employees on customer experience.
Increased Employee Engagement
After modernizing, a US government agency had a 50% increase in organizational health.
Fewer Budget Strains
Dissatisfied customers lead to strains on government agency resources. Customers with poor experiences are more than twice as likely to contact agency numbers 3+ times for help.
Public trust experiences major increases when there are positive customer service experiences, with satisfaction increasing 9x if customers are satisfied.
Dissatisfied customers present increased levels of risk. Those who had negative experiences are 2x more likely to publicly share poor experiences.
How Does QLess Modernize and Improve the Customer Experience?
QLess has solutions to help all 5 of the above results become a reality for government agencies.
Here are just a few of the many ways QLess can help improve customer service in your government office through our solutions:
Staff productivity can be boosted by up to 90% as you integrate this technology alongside your current system. With the help of a comprehensive solution including a queueing system and an appointment management system, staff’s efforts can be best focused on delivering strong customer service.
Regularly Monitor Customer Satisfaction
As long wait times disappear, customer satisfaction can be monitored using our virtual feedback surveys. These surveys track customer sentiment over time and can see how the daily operation of the office changes how customers feel about their experience.
Use Data to Plan Ahead
Allow administrators more peace of mind as they can effectively schedule more staff during peak periods.
Communicate with Visitors
Keep up to date with visitors through reminder and confirmation texts and voice messages as well as any updates about their visits that they need to know.
The days of guesswork are over. Take the mystery out of your local government customer service strategy, shorten wait times, and allow your local office to keep visitors in the know through voice messages or text notifications.
See why other offices across six continents are so satisfied with their QLess experience.
3. Apply Service-Informed Data
One of the benefits of using QLess to improve customer experience in your government office is that it often comes with feedback surveys that allow administrators to inform staff training and target areas for improvement in customer service.
Using this information, your office can improve the quality of service faster and more efficiently. Past that, government agencies can also make the most of data and business intelligence provided by QLess services to make smarter decisions to improve efficiency and improve customer experience.
There are two major ways that QLess can help government offices apply service-informed data:
- Business Intelligence
- Customer Feedback
Why is Service-Related Business Intelligence Useful for Government?
Business Intelligence adds value to an organization. It provides key knowledge about how a government organization is performing, what exactly is happening, and how action can be taken to improve. QLess Business Intelligence uses data for smarter opportunities.
Business Intelligence can also save resources, time, and money by identifying insights that may never have been realized otherwise. Government agencies can apply Business Intelligence in a customer service setting to determine how to best provide what visitors need and when they need it.
How Can QLess Business Intelligence Help Government Offices?
Monitor your workflows in real-time.
Keep a pulse on online appointment scheduling and queueing as they happen. Leverage insights to adjust resources as needed to meet the ebbs and flows of customer needs in the public sector.
Make the most of data through useful segments
Understand the micro-trends occurring throughout your office’s operations. Data can be broken down by location, queue, appointment, service type, reason for visit, employee, day of week, time of day, and more. Looking at these insights can allow your local office to improve the customer experience.
Insights provided at a glance
Determine where bottlenecks are occurring and what workload constraints exist. Business Intelligence provides insights into where adjustments can be made to processes and resources.
How to Get Feedback from Government Office Visitors
Skip mailing the paper survey, and instead allow your customers to complete their feedback form right after an appointment using SMS feedback surveys. By sending an SMS feedback survey, customers are able to give feedback right after an appointment while the experience is fresh.
SMS feedback surveys are more likely to be opened than many other sources with SMS having a 98% open rate. Past that, research has shown that SMS surveys have a 209% higher response rate than other channels such as phone calls or email.
What Feedback Should Be Collected from Visitors?
There is a host of information that should be collected from visitors in the follow-up survey.
- Time and Day of Visit
- Length of Visit
- Reason for Visit
- Visit Satisfaction
- Demographic Info
- Open-ended opportunity for feedback
These areas of feedback will help identify trends in your visitor experience – are there a certain type of visit that occurs most on a certain day or at a certain time? A feedback survey provides the opportunity to learn from your visitors.
Providing an open-ended question for general feedback can open your office up to a variety of responses from visitors, but also can open your eyes to any blind spots that you hadn’t previously known about that visitors want or need.
Many citizens are relieved by their change in waiting experience, and surveys reflect their satisfaction quickly.
Take a look at some of the reasons your visitors will love using queue control technology in public sector offices in our product demo.
4. Provide a More Inviting Office
Once your office procedures are effective, another way to improve customer service in your government office is creating a brighter and quieter space.
First impressions and environment matter, and making your government office an inviting and open space helps increase customer service satisfaction. For example, DMV’s are generally thought of as a notoriously unaesthetically pleasing setting, full of lines and waiting.
With a DMV queue system set in place, DMV’s have a greater opportunity to open up space, decrease crowding, and create an inviting office setting.
How Can a Queueing System Improve the Government Office Environment?
An appointment scheduling app and queueing system can help create a more open, inviting office atmosphere.
Here are just a few ways QLess will help open up your office:
One of the main goals of QLess is to decrease crowding, and the ultimate way to improve the office experience is to create a healthy flow of visitors, rather than a crowd of disgruntled people waiting.
Provide More Comfortable Waiting Areas
Decreased crowding means that you can now place more comfortable waiting areas in your office. Create a variety of seating options to increase comfort and aesthetic appeal. Think couches and comfortable stools instead of cheap plastic chairs anchored to the floor.
Repurpose Space for New Opportunities
Repurpose now-empty space by renting out the area to a local coffee shop or bakery to give your visitors even more waiting options. With fewer visitors in the space at once, the opportunities for your newly-created extra space are endless.
Take the time to think about how to add to your office space with decor. Decorate your space with greenery such as plants or indoor gardens. You don’t need that space for extra bodies anymore.
Keep the Office Clutter-Free
A cluttered office is often interpreted as a disorganized and dirty office. A Princeton study found that too much visual stimuli makes it difficult for the human brain to focus and process information properly. To keep your office moving smoothly and both visitors and staff to have a seamless experience, keep the office clear of clutter.
For more ideas on how to reduce wait times in your government office to create a more open and inviting visitor experience, read up on our top tips.
Using QLess to improve customer experience in your government office may well free up entire areas of your building for other use, thanks to effective queue control. You may well find that you can downsize over time or simply create a nicer atmosphere for your hard-working citizens and employees.
5. Prepare for the Unexpected
When the unexpected happens, people look to the government for help, resources, and guidance. Government agencies must step up and be there for the people they serve.
After a natural disaster or other catastrophic events, the pressure to serve local citizens quickly increases exponentially as they try to put their lives back together on a short timeline.
Not only are citizens struggling with the unexpected event at hand, but they are trying to quickly find solutions for themselves and their loved ones. Every minute counts.
Improving Customer Service in Times of Need
Using queue control measures is even more important in times of need. According to Accenture, the areas with the lowest customer satisfaction in government agencies are trust (66%), service/effectiveness (69%), process/efficiency (69%), and process/ease (69%).
These are all customer service areas that would increase with a reliable queueing system that helps citizens get what they need faster in times of need.
By being there when customers need it most, government agencies can help build trust and show effectiveness and ease with both process and service.
How Can a Queueing System Help During a Crisis?
A queueing system can provide an area of organization and order for citizens during a time of chaos and disturbance. By making your process as simple and easy as possible, it gives citizens one less thing to worry about. The pandemic taught us that anything can happen, so being prepared helps ensure the customer experience with the public sector is a good one.
Citizens can wait in a virtual queue while taking care of other problems to help repair damage to their property or livelihoods. Instead of wasting precious time in line when citizens’ time is critically needed elsewhere, they can multitask by standing in a virtual queue and tackling other concerns.
Track Staff Overtime
QLess technology can help justify additional budget increase requests by effectively tracking the hours that staff work overtime. The ease of tracking overtime can help government agencies understand exactly what capacity is needed and how to best provide assistance to the citizens enduring crisis.
Manage for Cancellations
Let us help your office fill in the gaps efficiently as cancellations may become more frequent in times of need. Cancellations are to be expected when unpredictable challenges arise and people’s priorities shift by the minute. Queueing systems help intelligently move visitors up in the queue and seamlessly keep the process flowing.
Having a queue control plan in place is a necessity for improving the customer experience in government offices and the public sector as a whole.
Using technology that helps you navigate a sudden influx in office volume is paramount to your business reputation. Your goal is to ensure that every visitor is seen quickly and obtains the information they need.
Put QLess to Work Now
No additional hardware is needed to begin the transition to improving customer experience in government offices and the public sector. QLess makes it easy to make your customers’ and staffs’ lives easy.
With a proven strategy to help your office succeed, see why innovative companies are so satisfied with our government management system.
Join other success stories and improve your local government customer service strategy and queue control today. Contact QLess today and request a demo now.