During the past year, government offices around the world have closed down many of their services to the public. With vaccinations taking place, public offices should be able to reopen, but with a backlog of cancelled visits, the demands on their services will be bigger than ever. Here I will tell you how government offices, city halls and other public service offices can go about to ensure social distancing and a safe environment but still provide excellent service and customer experience to their visitors.
One of the main measures for providing a safe environment for visitors and staff is to ensure social distancing, or physical distancing, as it is also called. With a pent-up need for service, there is a high risk that waiting areas will be overcrowded when businesses reopen. However, there are sophisticated ways to go about that can solve the situation. I will share my best tips for smarter and safer queue management.
Keep waiting areas clear with online appointment scheduling
By implementing an online appointment scheduling system, government offices can avoid crowds in the waiting areas and outside their facilities as visitors book their appointments in advance. The number of available appointments can match staff availability and local regulations of how many people can be in a social setting at once. With the ability to book appointments into the same appointment system by calling in, one can cover for those citizens that don’t have access to internet as well.
Touchless appointment check-in for safer arrival
To make sure that the customer flow becomes as contactless as possible, make sure to choose an appointment system that can also be integrated with a check-in functionality so that once the customer arrives, there is no need to visit a counter to check in manually. With an SMS reminder that links directly to a check-in function, the customer can announce their arrival through that link once they arrive outside the premises.
With a connection to a queue management app that the staff is using, notifications about arrivals reach them directly, together with the information about who the visitor is and other details regarding the appointment. With this seamless connection between appointment and arrival, the safety for citizens and staff is guaranteed all the way to the service provided.
Stay safe and improve - get feedback
Was cleanliness and hygiene acceptable during the visit? Did the visitor feel comfortable during service? Answers to these questions can be of great help in improving customer experience. Invest in a system that enables SMS feedback that connects directly to that unique visitor’s journey in order to improve for next time.
Enable safe waiting with virtual queuing
Some services require walk-in availability. Combine your appointment scheduling and check-in solution with a virtual queuing solution that can issue mobile tickets. Instead of letting visitors directly into the waiting area, place a QR code on the front door that walk-in visitors can scan to get in line. With a mobile ticket in their phone, visitors can wait safely somewhere off the premise until they are called for their service. With remote waiting, the number of people on the premise can be controlled and physical distancing can be ensured.
Keep staff safe and in control
Since the number of people waiting can’t be seen by supervising the waiting area, it is important to invest in a virtual queuing system that enables staff to monitor the virtual waiting line from a software interface. This software should also enable for staff to call the next visitor and distribute visitors to other services if they chose the wrong service in the first place for example. It is also beneficial if it enables staff to issue SMS tickets for those citizens that don’t have a smart phone.
Offer service via virtual meeting solutions
Another option to completely avoid physical interactions, is to offer services via virtual meetings. Go for a solution where visitors can book either physical or virtual appointments through the same appointment scheduling system. With an integrated solution for virtual meetings, you can keep track of the visitor through the entire journey, and direct to other services, send reminders etc. without adding additional software interfaces for your staff.
Connected appointment scheduling and virtual queuing solutions
With an appointment solution and integrated safe queuing system in place, government offices can make sure to offer their services in a safe manner and comply to local regulations. However it can be challenging to find the best seamless software solution that caters for all the needs during the customer journey. The guide below aims to give insights on how to use appointment management solutions for safer queuing when reopening.
Qmatic has long experience and great expertise in queue management software, appointment systems and other solutions for great customer flow. To get in touch to start discussing how your organization can benefit from an appointment solution or queue management system, contact us directly.
This blog post was originally written on May 20, 2020 but has been updated with new learnings and technical features that have evolved during the pandemic.