City of Alameda Government Visitor Queue Management Success

2017 note from Qminder: We no longer support wasteful and impersonal printers. All our clients have moved on to our new name-based, paperless queueing solution.

Managing visitors in city permit center

Informing customers where they are in the queue

Before Qminder in City of Alameda customers signed their name and reason of the visit on a sign-in sheet. This is a common praxis, but with many faults. Some of the main issues mentioned by Alameda was that messiness of the paper, worry about privacy and lack of valid information.

old queuing sign-in sheet

For visitors it was not always clear what to put down or how to word the reason of the visit. Customers wanted to know where they are in the queue because the waiting process was disorganized and employees got many complaints about the provided service.

City hall employees used to strike out customer names to indicate that they have been dealt with, but mistakes were often made and in the end the names were unreadable. In the end of the week managers had to spend hours just counting the scribbles to get some kind of overview of the previous week.

Allen Tai, Planning Services Manager at City of Alameda, explains: "Qminder allows our customers to sign-in and informs where they are in the line while waiting."

Now with Qminder the waiting line in City of Alameda is well organized and visitors are informed where they are in the queue. City hall managers can view performance statistics anytime and follow the wait times even in real time. This helps both with reporting, but also to keep an eye on what going on in real-time.

The Setup

The Qminder setup in City of Alameda consists of multiple parts that help facilitate a personal approach to customer service. Together, these parts provide the best experience for city hall visitors and employees.

The setup was quite simple and affordable. All the hardware components are using wireless Internet connection and no cabling was needed.

Allen Tai, says: "Qminder provided us an easy setup with a low cost. We just connected an iPad and Smart TV wirelessly to the Internet and that’s it."

Qminder iPad Sign-In application

Customers walk in and enter their name into Qminder iPad Sign-In application and select the needed service.

With this setup Alameda is eliminating the need to print out sign-in sheets and confuse their visitors what to write down as a reason of visit.

Qminder TV showing line information

Samsung Smart TV screen is placed in the waiting area where customers can follow the queue and see their status. They can easily see who is waiting and who is being served right now at which desk or station.

Qminder Dashboard in computer

Every employee has their personal login for the Qminder system, and use it via already existing computer and the Google Chrome browser. There was no need to install any additional software.

Staff members can see all the people who have lined up, and can edit or add extra information. They call and service customers from the same screen just hitting the Next button.It really is that straightforward and no special training was needed.

Exploring statistics

City of Alameda is using statistics for various reasons, but mainly to continuously improve the customer service. Data helps to justify the staffing, make vacation schedules, do the monthly reports and much more.

Qminder has proven to be easy to use and useful tool. The average wait time, total nr of customers served, peak times over the day, and personal statistics for each clerk are now at their fingertips.

"Qminder is a very easy and useful tool providing all needed statistics to monitor our productivity", adds Allen Tai.

Conclusion

City of Alameda shows a good example how city halls can remarkably improve their service.

"Qminder allows us to keep a personal touch with our visitors in our small permit center", explains Allen Tai.

Most of the alternatives were for specialized for restaurants and didn’t suit Alameda city hall needs. Other queue managements systems were too expensive and lack the human side of good customer service.

About City of Alameda

Alameda is a city in Alameda County, California, United States. It is located in the San Francisco Bay Area. The city’s estimated 2014 population was 75,988. Alameda is a charter city, rather than a general law city, allowing the city to provide for any form of government. Alameda became a charter city and adopted a council–manager government in 1916, which it retains to the present.

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