How to reduce wait times in government offices

How to reduce wait times in government offices

Dixie Thamrin |July 26 2023 6 min

Most government offices around the world are faced with the twin challenges of strained resources and outdated systems. Combined, these two problems often cause inefficient operation and service delivery, which is reflected in the long wait times that citizens face when dealing with public sector agencies.

Nowadays, most people expect seamless and efficient services, including when dealing with public sector agencies. In many places, citizens at city halls and other government offices often face long waiting times and lack of information. This often contributes to inefficient operations and negative citizen experience. 

There are a few things that service providers can do to tackle these problems. Here are some solutions that can be used to reduce wait times in government offices and public agencies.

7 tips to reduce wait times in government offices

Use appointment booking

Having the ability to book appointments helps customers avoid long waiting times, which considerably reduces the crowd in the waiting area. With an appointment booking system, customers can choose the time that suits them best, and schedule their arrival close to their appointment. This will also help with managing customer flow and optimizing resource allocation in advance.

Enable self-registration

Check-in or registration upon arrival is one of the areas that can create bottlenecks. By enabling customers to do self check-in, you can speed up the process and also allocate your staff to other areas where their expertise is needed.

Use mobile ticket for virtual queuing

For walk-in customers, you can provide virtual queuing solutions. After checking in, with a mobile ticket, customers can wait somewhere else outside the waiting area. While waiting remotely, they can monitor the queue progress on their phone, and get a notification when it’s their turn to get served. Having the ability to wait somewhere else and keep updated will shorten the perceived wait time.

Categorize visitors based on the services they need

Some services can be done in a short time, while others may take longer. If you provide several types of service, sorting your customers early on is a good way to increase operational efficiency, and in turn, reduce wait times.

For appointment visitors, sorting can be done automatically in the booking, where they are automatically categorized based on the service they choose. For walk-in visitors, this can be done when they check in. Having this information in advance will also help to prepare your staff and set the expectation for the day.

Keep visitors informed with reminders and notifications

Late arrivals can cause problems and potentially longer wait times for the next customers, so keep customers updated regularly with reminders and notification. For appointment customers, this is also important to avoid no-shows.

Monitor performance in real-time

By using an operation panel, you can get insights on performance in real-time which allows you to adapt to changing circumstances. You can set up notifications when certain limits are exceeded, for example, if the wait time is longer than a certain time, or if the number of customers exceeds a certain limit. This information can help you respond instantly to events and keep the waiting times low. For example, you may decide to open another counter, or move staff members from a quiet area to areas that need them more.

Analyze the historical data

With any system there is room for improvement.  As well as getting insights on the live situation, it’s also important to analyze historical data with business intelligence tools to see areas that might need improvement. By doing this, you can recognize if there are patterns and make plans accordingly. For example, a particular service might be busier during certain days, or there may be a peak flow at a certain time of day. Having these insights will allow you to plan staff allocation or service availability in advance to optimize service delivery.

These are some of the ways to reduce wait times in government offices and public agencies. To read more about how you can minimize wait times and improve the citizen experience, download our Citizen Journey Management guide below.

Download the Citizen Journey Management Guide


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